Here are some more shots of the Russian Su-24s buzzing a U.S. warship in the Baltic Sea

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


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 Comment

  1. I am sorry but what is the fuss about this posturing of US-Navy/NATO and the russian response? To remind you all the soviets/russians got out of eastern europe after the fall of the iron curtain. only with “assurances that NATO would not expand eastward”. doh!
    Visual ID of a naval vessel is performed as close as possible, if its “danger-close” and done in professional manner there is nothing to complain about. They did a flyby and no direct overflight or bridge buzz.
    btw the orders given to this ship by transatlantic and polish warmongers were designed to provoke just this response and the russians of course delivered – just in time for slam news
    wake up and think what a real hot war between first rate armies amounts to …
    the USA increased trade to russia as did the baltic states – peaceful relations despite warmongers
    of course some fear real peace – less wepons to sell less soldiers to send to their deaths

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