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. I agree that it is most likely a AVF SU-24MR out of Gvardeyskoye AB on Crimea. Note that the photo above is from 2013 and not fro this incident.

  2. No need to shout.
    And Cuba is 105 miles south of Key West, and the US has a history of overflying that sovereign nation.
    Go get a history book.

    • Notice how the Ruski’s went quiet on that post? Yeah. And I’m just getting warmed up and thats just a 20 year look of their history. I could go a lot further and into detail and really get ugly about it. there is literally a mountain of rape and murder that extends back 200 years in that country’s history. How dare they point a finger at us!? We may be fat, we may love our cheap beer, and nascar, professional wrestling, rap music, and video games and our stupid smart phones. We realize many countries seem to think we’re lazy but the America I see is some of the hardest working people on this planet. What other country goes to war with another country then comes back in and rebuilds that country. We literally blow places up get the bad guys then come back through and brick and mortar the place back together! Seriously who else does this stuff? And Americans will give a person the shirt off their back without thinking twice. We try to make amends with those we have wronged because we have a conscience. God bless this goofy country of ours. Russian needs to wake up and realize who’s toes they are stepping on.

      • Wow, such hypocrisy. Calling Russia “evil” while admitting that America wages wars and destroys countries. Just another example of what America is famous for, around the world. Double standards.

      • The only significant reason to go quiet on that post is keep away from the
        actual troll.

  3. This s a very strange answer,obviously,you are believing in much of propaganda tools of US arms manufacturers.

    First of all,any STEALTH CAN BE BEATEN as in Serbia!Serbia did it with very old weapons,and after international blockade on buying any new weapons since 1989 -so,for 10 years,including the spare parts.

    In Belgrade,near the international airport in a wonderful museum you can see a wreck of this F-117a, only cabin,as the larger part was given to Russia for their military experiments.)

    Famous joke in 1999 was “Sorry,we shot it down by accident as we did not see it ;-) because of its stealth”
    Actually,it was shot down my careful planning and great soldiers.

    Now,think : Russia,one of most technologically advanced countries in the world in advanced antiaircraft weapons, year 2014 ,they have the best systems – unlike poor Serbia.Any “stealth”- (which means reduced visibility,not invisibility) would be trashed. US Airforce knows this well,so they would never risk another face-loosing as with F-117.

    But I am sure they will use it against smaller and poor country if they are sure there is not chance to get scratched.
    About the missile shield,it is disfunctional as it was written even in this blog,Aegis can protect you from anti ship rockets, (and not from 6+mach ones) but nothing can protect from 1500 ICBMs 750 mt each with 12 different heads on every bomb,of course,we hope that it will never happen.
    Russia stil ot this day owns many records with airplanes,and many patents in technology which are completely unknown to western scientists,so idea that is it paper tiger,or much weaker is a big error which can lead to catastrophe,as it happened to already to Napoleon and Hitler for underestimating Russia`s technology (read T-34, Ilushin-2, Stalin tanks,Jak-3 fighters and of course,rocket technology).
    You will see that Russia will do whatever it wants in Ukraine,and nobody can stop it.

    • So to sum up this answer… Stealth can be beaten. Yes but not by russia. At the 95 moscow airshow RU showed off its then answer to the JSF stealth platform I believe you guys call it the 55Zh6ME utilizing some pretty cool adjustments to an then old VHF array. This has an impressive ability to locate down a 1 meter cross section out of the air. Nicely done. Since then this platform didnt get any further than this. The funny thing is that Lockheed now has the cross section down to 1 millimeter. Your Antennae now needs to pickup a radar cross section of a mosquito. A mosquito armed with some of the finest missles ever put onto a supersonic platform. Good luck with that there yuri. You managed to grab the F117 out of the air due to some design flaws. We promptly fixed those in the past 3-5 years. This claim that you have “technology which are completely unknown to western scientists”. Thats a funny answer to the facts and figures based on just openly documented research. Whats even more comical is we also know exactly what Russia has up its sleeve. US has had access to all your documentation and has been looking in your backyard for decades. We even know which finger Putin favors for picking his nose. Russia has been playing a fools game and sooner or later its going to backfire. We’ll attempt every avenue of diplomacy but eventually those will run out. I pray to god it doesn’t come to that because its going to be a bloody mess.

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