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Russian jet intercepts US Navy plane over Black Sea

06 November 2018

The U.S. Navy is releasing video of a U.S. EP-3 Aries aircraft flying November 5, 2018, in worldwide airspace over the Black Sea being intercepted by a Russian Su-27.

"This interaction was determined to be unsafe due to the Su-27 conducting a high speed pass directly in front of the mission aircraft, putting at risk the pilots and crew", the statement said.

The U.S. reconnaissance aircraft was spotted approaching Russia's airspace at around 10:00 a.m. Moscow time (0700 GMT) and was immediately identified by the Su-27 fighter jet "at a safe distance", Russian news agencies reported, citing a defense ministry statement. A Russian Su-27 Flanker flew within five feet of an EP-3's wing tip over the Black Sea in January, Navy officials said. And in June a year ago, an Su-27 closed in on the wing of a U.S. RC-135U reconnaissance aircraft over the Baltic Sea at high speed, U.S. European Command said at the time.

The crew aboard the EP-3 reported "turbulence following the first interaction, and vibrations from the second".

There was no communication between the two planes and the encounter lasted about 25 minutes, Spokesperson Eric Pahon told reporters at the Pentagon.

The Russian jet then activated its afterburners creating more turbulence, making a second pass by the USA plane.

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The Navy released a short video clip Monday of the Russian jet's afterburner flaring alongside the US aircraft.

On Nov. 5, 2018, a U.S. EP-3 Aries aircraft flying in global airspace over the Black Sea was intercepted by a Russian SU-27.

"There's just absolutely no reason for this type of behavior", said Pahon, who noted that the American aircraft was flying a routine mission in worldwide airspace "and the Russian aircraft kind of came out of nowhere and did not one, but two passes close to our aircraft".

U.S. officials said Russia's military could exercise within worldwide airspace, but the pilot's behaviour was wrong.

The US Navy deemed that intercept unsafe and unprofessional.

Russian jet intercepts US Navy plane over Black Sea