A close encounter took place between a U.S. Navy aircraft and a Russian aircraft over the Black Sea on Monday morning, when the Russian jet intercepted the U.S. Navy aircraft in international airspace for about 25 minutes and also used its afterburners.
Amid flying through international airspace, the U.S. Navy EP-3 Aries aircraft encountered a Russian SU-27, which performed a dangerously close maneuver in intercepting the U.S. aircraft and then using its afterburners, according to a statement by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa.
Watch the encounter below:
“This interaction was determined to be unsafe due to the SU-27 conducting a high speed pass directly in front of the mission aircraft, which put our pilots and crew at risk,” the Navy statement said.
The encounter lasted about 25 minutes.
Nov. 5, 2018, U.S. EP-3 Aries aircraft in international airspace #BlackSea intercepted by Russian SU-27. Unsafe due to SU-27 conducting a high speed pass directly in front of the mission aircraft, putting pilots and crew at risk. READ: https://t.co/MVpDPUvKq2 pic.twitter.com/qvXulzQWPu
— U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet (@USNavyEurope) November 5, 2018
“The intercepting SU-27 made an additional pass, closing with the EP-3 and applying its afterburner while conducting a banking turn-away. The crew of the EP-3 reported turbulence following the first interaction, and vibrations from the second,” the Navy statement added.
It’s not yet clear how close a distance the two aircraft were.
“While the Russian military is within its right to exercise within international airspace, this interaction was irresponsible,” the Navy stated. “We expect them to behave within international standards set to ensure safety and to prevent incidents, including the 1972 Agreement for the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas (INCSEA). Unsafe actions increase the risk of miscalculation and potential for midair collisions.”
— CNN NationalSecurity (@NatSecCNN) November 5, 2018
The Navy also noted that “The U.S. aircraft was operating in accordance with international law and did not provoke this Russian activity.”
It isn’t the first time Russia has had an unsafe encounter with a U.S. Navy aircraft.
In January, a SU-27 also performed a dangerous intercept maneuver on another U.S. Navy EP-3 surveillance plane above the Black Sea. The SU-27 flew within five feet of the EP-3, in a lengthy encounter that lasted over two and a half hours, CNN reported at the time.
“This interaction was determined to be unsafe due to the SU-27 closing to within five feet and crossing directly through the EP-3’s flight path, causing the EP-3 to fly through the SU-27’s jet wash,” US Naval Forces Europe spokesman, Capt. Pamela Kunze told CNN.
“Unsafe actions increase the risk of miscalculation and midair collisions,” Kunze added. “The US aircraft was operating in accordance with international law and did not provoke this Russian activity.”