Russian Su-24 performs insane flyby on U.S. Destroyer during simulated attack in the Baltic Sea

Russian Fencer buzzes USS Donal Cook.

According to CNN, Russian Su-24 jets performed a close flypast in the vicinity of the USS Donald Cook Destroyer, operating in the Baltic Sea, on Tuesday, Apr. 12.

AP agency reports that a similar incident took place on Wednesday Apr. 13.

At the time of the incident, a Polish Kaman SH-2G helicopter was carrying out ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) routine training operations from the American destroyer.

CNN’s report suggests that the incident could be viewed as a Russian message for Poland.

Commanders of the US Navy consider the Russian activities to pose a direct threat to the exercise, thus a submission of formal protest is being deliberated. The ship was operating within the international waters.

The Fencer aircraft that buzzed the US ship during the exercise made about 20 overflights, within 1,000 yards of the ship, as low as 100 feet – as the Navy Times release suggests. Training in the air was suspended in a response to the Russian activities.

Moreover, on Tuesday, a Russian Ka-27 Helix helicopter also made seven passes over the US vessel, appearing to gather imagery of the ship – as Navy Times reports. After that, yet again, Su-24 made 11 “very low simulated attack” passes over the ship.

Attempts to make radio contact with the Russian jet were unsuccessful.

According to the Navy Times, the jet was flying in a clean configuration, without any external stores, however, it flew only 30 feet off the ship. Moreover, the clip shows that external drop-tanks were hanging from the Fencer’s underwing pylons.

As the sailors quoted by the Navy Times suggest, the jet was low enough to create a wake on the sea waters, marking the aggressive character of the move.

U.S. Defense official, quoted by the Navy Times, claimed that the flypast is interpreted as a simulated attack, meaning that it may violate a 1973 treaty made between the US and Russia, banning this type of maneuvers.

Most probably, the Fencer came from one of the bases located within the Kaliningrad Oblast.

USS Donald Cook is a missile destroyer fitted with an integrated Aegis missile defense system

A similar incident occurred in April 2014, when a Russian Su-24MR, flew within 1,000 yards of the USS Donald Cook, that was operating in the Black Sea following the crisis in Ukraine: a show of force considered  “provocative and inconsistent with international agreements.”


About Jacek Siminski
Standing contributor for TheAviationist. Aviation photojournalist. Co-Founder of Expert in linguistics, Cold War discourse, Cold War history and policy and media communications.