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


    • I don’t see your point. I suppose you feel great when we do likewise to the Russians? I’ll bet you love stories about how we sent submarines up their rivers, and how we tail their SSBN’s. Grow up. This is part of posturing. If it makes you feel better our elint probably listened in on their AM brief, and the flights were probably tracked as soon as they rose above 100 ft AGL in Russian airspace.

    • Isn’t it great having a joke of republican presidential contenders ?

    • Wasn’t it?
      “I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul; a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country.”
      George W Bush, on Vladimir Putin.

    • I see your point too – you are always eager to make a political, predominantly ant-Russian, statement at any opportunity. Firstly – this is off topic as it is a technical forum. Secondly – you might think you have a reason to do what you are doing but any phobia is classified as an illness that would be including Russophobia. Also, have in mind that people are not that stupid (as you noticed from other replies) by now they are well trained by the modern media-propaganda, I am talking like all sides, those who’s opinion matters make their own. All you are doing throwing a phrase along more or less correlated event hopping to achieve some inclination in the minds of those who are still susceptible.. But as you see it is a two way road.

    • no kidding.. this is like in the Sopranos when Johnny Sack beats up a Soprano associate wrongfully for a joke made about his chunky wife, and then whizzes on the guy’s face after whaling on him.. this was the military equivalent of that scene.

  1. War by threat has held for the Nuke Powers longer than some of us could have hoped. NATO threats of bombers with transponders off was severe at start of US Ru, Economic Warfare. Three Rockets of the US exploded in one week last year. Generals making Foreign Policy has become very dangerous to the cause of world stability. Banning the nukes is called for more and more.

  2. To be fair we did this and more back during the Cold War and fighter pilots will also be fighter pilots. It’s convenient to trump it up as Russian aggression but it’s more of just routine operation .

    • There is nothing routine about this. When crewmembers in the bridge are farther off the water than the aircraft, that isn’t routine. Nor is directly overflying the ship. That’s a big no-no.

      If Russia could learn to execute these “greetings” with one iota of professionalism, then maybe we’d cut them some slack. Our pilots overfly their warships within spitting distance, in international waters no less. Our pilots don’t do barrel rolls over the top of ELINT aircraft.

      The Russians can scream “We’re still relevant!” all they want. At the end of the day though, they’ve always been fantastic at being insecure children with an inferiority complex. Notice how none of this stuff happened following the Cold War for almost two decades? It didn’t start up again because the United States decided one morning we were going to start bullying Russia…

    • …and then tens of Russian fighter bombers and bombers + subs and all the rest, would hunt that utterly isolated lonely ship and sank it by pure number brute force (saturation, no matter how good are your defenses you are simply outgunned and too slow to escape, too big to hide)… and Russia would be right, since it’s international waters. So you get a diplomatic disaster, what next? In what world are you living in? Isn’t it just so much better to let them overfly and take a nice video to show to relatives and friends?

    • It’s an Aegis ship. Its systems could have nailed the Fencer a lot sooner than a CIWS would have.

  3. With that type of response the Americans should allow Russians to fly 30-100 feet to the 200 mile zone of the US and not scramble any fighters. Thanks Obama.

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