Russian Su-24 Fencer attack plane performs multiple passes near U.S. warship in Black Sea

A Russian attack plane performed multiple passes near an American warship in the Black Sea.

The aircraft, reportedly a Russian Air Force Su-24 Fencer, flew within 1,000 yards of the USS Donald Cook, the U.S. Navy destroyer currently operating in the Black Sea. According to the Associated Press, the Fencer flew at 500 feet ASL (Above Sea Level) and performed passes that the ship commander considered “provocative and inconsistent with international agreements.”

The ship, that has been operating in the Black Sea since Apr. 10, issued several radio calls and warnings to the Fencer, that was unarmed and was never in real danger of coming in contact with the ship.

Noteworthy, the U.S. warship was also being shadowed by a Russian Navy frigate, but this is just routine during operations conducted in international waters east of Romania.

Such close encounters are quite frequent is seas around the world. Some years ago a pair of Tu-95 Bear flew quite close to USS Nimitz in the Pacific. For sure, when this happens in the Black Sea and amid raising tensions following the Russian invasion of Crimea, the episode assumes a completely different meaning.


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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


    • superior 5th gen aircraft, superior top design with SUPERIOR russian
      nuclear warheads 50x the power of american

    • Yeah, why not let those kind US Ships sail all the way to the Red Square. Otherwise, it might seem like an “aggression”.

      • have you look at the map? Did you noticed that there are 3 NATO countries there? Do you noticed that US have a base used for hauling troops out of Afghanistan?
        If anything else Black Sea is a NATO “owned” sea :)

        • oh so now all of a sudden we have to send ships over there to piss the russians off and we find the excuse of NATO bases in the area.SO far the only aggressors have proven to be us.We dont need to be the police of the world.Instead of spending money and trying to start shit with other countries maybe we should concentrate with problems at home.The black sea does not belong to NATO.Maybe the russians should set up camp at our back yard i would like to see the comments on here.

    • Are reading any further than title?

      “Such close encounters are quite frequent is seas around the world.”

  1. The Russian aircraft was most likely gathering electronic intelligence on the American ship’s weapon systems. To do this, it had to fly close enough to pose a threat, forcing the destroyer to illuminate it with its radars and weapon systems.

    This information would be collected on pods under the aircraft’s wings and will used to create ECM (Electronic Counter Measures), ECCM (Electronic Counter-Counter Measures) or more generally to alter Russian weapon systems to better overcome the ship’s defences.

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