More impressive shots of the Russian flybys.
The U.S. Navy has released more photographs, taken from aboard USS Donald Cook, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer that was buzzed by Russian Su-24M attack aircraft on Apr. 12.
Although quite provocative, the low passes that the Russian Sukhois performed near the ship (within 1,000 feet once coming as close as 30 feet to the destroyer) had little to be worried about: the aircraft depicted in the photographs are unarmed Sukhoi Su-24M bombers, most probably conducting “simulated attacks” on the American warship at sea.
According to the Russian MoD the Fencers skirted the Donald Cook in international waters some 70 km from a Russian Navy base.
For sure, close encounters at sea occur: 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.”
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.”
On Oct. 27, 2015, USS Ronald Regan, sailing in international waters east of the Korean peninsula, had to scramble four Hornets after two Russian Navy Tu-142 Bear aircraft flew within a nautical mile of the U.S. Navy nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.
In 2008, USS Nimitz operating in the Pacific had to launch some Hornets to intercept and escort two Tu-95s approaching the carrier.
So, such close encounters have occurred since the Cold War and they have never really escalated even though there are rumors of U.S. Navy officers facing active jamming activities by some Russian planes in the past.
Nothing special then. At least, until something more happens…
Image credit: U.S. Navy