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.


  1. Russians don’t want to do anything that could turn into a big trouble for them. It’s just a routing encounter and I don’t know why some of user try to do their best to interpret such a routine encounter in the most exciting and dangerous way they can!

    • Hardly a routine encounter,12 passes nearby in 90 minutes….Obviously it is a message saying “We are not afraid of you and we can sink you if we want to” not with one old SU 24 but definitely with hyper-sonic missiles which Russia has in abundance

      • “We are not afraid of you and we can sink you if we want to”
        Maybe this time I have to deal with Russian Joke Makers. Right???

        • Yeah?And how to you stop a Mach 6 rocket?Even China can destroy any US ship now..

          • And of course the US can destroy your ships and radars and missiles and planes and rockets and other poops you’ve got totally with just a single EMP bomb so long before you come to think of how to make them ready to use in an upcoming battle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Care to test that little theory of yours ? Attack Russia then if you dare you pompous muppets – mutually assured destruction

  2. Be careful all you american hawks… look at your commander and chief is before you get all bowed up. Russia isn’t Libya, Syria or some other little 3rd work country to push around. This isn’t some DC political debate with talking points and sound bites. The Russians can fight back on several levels. And since the west is insolvent and severely lacking real leadership, Putin may never have to fire a shot to win.

    • Russia is a paper tiger. Russia needs to be careful. If it roars too loudly it may need to back up its actions and it’s not at all prepared to deal with a U.S. incursion. U.S. clearly does not want to engage RU. But keep in mind The U.S. military in hardware alone is roughly 15 times larger than what Russia has at it’s immediate disposal. While Russia poses the greatest military threat to the U.S. If the need arrived this would go down very very badly for Mr. Putin and his war mongering friends.

      • Remember how strong was Adolfs army? and where he ends? So Baracolf Obamitler will end similar if he will proceed with war against Russia.

      • Yeah, country which was beating US in space race and up to this date has better space program then US (read – all this technology can be used in military) is hardly a “paper tiger”.Apart from quite large and effective air force, Russia has so much nuclear weapons that it can make radioactive dust of all US in a few minutes,so,it is absurd to call it “paper tiger”.
        US can attack only poor small countries,which have been subjected to crippling sanctions for at least a decade so I am sure they will keep far from Russia.

    • There’s a special irony to a somebody posting with the name “Vlad Lenin” – about the west being “insolvent”.

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