Two Russian TU-142 Bears fly close to USS Reagan that launches four (armed) Hornets in response

110425-N-DR144-122 ARABIAN SEA (April 25, 2011) An F/A-18C Hornet assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113 launches from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are conducting maritime security operations and close-air support missions in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Evans/Released)

Interesting close encounter off the Korean peninsula.

On Oct. 27, USS Ronald Regan, sailing in international waters east of the Korean peninsula, had to scramble four F/A-18 Hornets after two Russian Navy Tu-142 Bear aircraft flew within a nautical mile of the U.S. Navy nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

The four Navy Hornets escorted the Tu-142, an ASW (anti-submarine warfare) variant of the iconic Tu-95 Bear strategic bomber, away from the U.S. warship.

This is not the first time a Russian warplane buzzes a U.S. flattop: in 2008, USS Nimitz operating in the Pacific had to launch some Hornets to intercept and escort two Tu-95s approaching the carrier.

More recently, in April 2014, a Su-24 Fencer flew multiple passes at 500 feet above sea level, within 1,000 yards of the USS Donald Cook, the U.S. Navy destroyer operating in the Black Sea at that time: a behaviour that the ship commander considered “provocative and inconsistent with international agreements.”

On Mar. 3, 2015, Russian Su-30s and Su-24s aircraft from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet based in Crimea conducted attack runs on NATO warships operating in the Black Sea “to practice penetrating anti-air systems.”

Image credit: U.S. Navy


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. When I was a P-3 crewman in the US Navy in the early-mid eighties we used to rig Soviet warships – including carriers – every day. Big whoop.

  2. A nautical mile is cutting it pretty close. If the Russians launched an attack the Carrier battle group would have only seconds to react…The Navy appears to have forgotten about the USS Stark…

  3. dunque: un miglio marino corrisponde a 1852 metri circa.

    e sti stupidi americani hanno lasciato avvicinare due bombardieri ASW fino ad un miglio marino dalla portaerei senza colpo ferire? ma cosa stavano facendo i responsabili della sicurezza? la festa di halloween?

  4. Considering how big the bear is, how the heck did they get that close? Its not as if they are stealth!! 1 mile?

  5. Why shouldn’t the USN sail in INTERNATIONAL waters?

    Contrary to you Russian invaders of Ukraine, other countries are free to use international air and water ways.

    • USN do it for provocative reasons….being the d’ickheads that they are….like sailing 12 miles off one of Chinese Spratly Islands.

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