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. For those uninformed here; It was Recon version, and its designation is Su-24MR. Its purpose is Intel mostly. Hense why it flow close the the USS Donald Cook.

  2. Wonder what the pilot would have thought if we made a few fly by’s with a couple of MIM23’s. This whole thing that Putin is playing is a mess. He’s got his propaganda machine on full blast. The country is on a war stance and they’re going to take the Ukraine this will lead to US involvement and ultimately a war with Russia. I’m hoping we don’t have to end up putting the Aegis System into play.

    • Forget about the war with Russia – it means that US will not remain on planet Earth.except a piece of Alaska maybe

      • If this war begins to happen then the first person who flees and disappears is you liar leader Mr Putin. Every body knows that.

  3. That’s great!

    The Picket ships without air cover!
    Do you remember HMS Prince of Wales and Repulse December 1941?
    Okinawa 1945 or HMS Sheffield 1982?

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