Russian Fighter Jet Flies Within 50 Feet Of US Recon Plane Over Baltic Sea

Tyler Durden's picture

Just days after the US destroyer Donald Cook had a close "buzzing" with two Russian Su-24 fighters which performed several low passes as close as 30 feet away in the Baltic Sea, the US Air Force complained about another close encounter which took place on Thursday.

According to US European Command, during a routine flight by a US EC-135U reconnaissance plane which was flying over international waters (again in the Baltic Sea) a Russian Flanker barrel rolled from the left side of the U.S. RC-135 and went over the top of it to end on the right side of the aircraft.

As CNN details, the Russian jet "performed erratic and aggressive maneuvers" as it "flew within 50 feet of the U.S. aircraft's wing tip", Danny Hernandez, a spokesman for U.S. European Command, said. The Russian Su-27 began the barrel roll from the left side of the U.S. RC-135 and went over the top of it to end on the right side of the aircraft, European Command said.

The RC-135 aircraft was "intercepted by a Russian SU-27 in an unsafe and unprofessional manner," Hernandez said, adding that the U.S. plane never entered Russian territory. "The unsafe and unprofessional actions of a single pilot have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries," said Hernandez, who added the United States is protesting with the Russian government.

As expected, Russia's military rejected criticism by U.S. European Command on Sunday, and said that reports on Thursday's incident were "not consistent with reality" and that the Russian aircraft's maneuvers had been "performed strictly in accordance with the international regulations on the use of airspace."

Ministry spokesman Gen. Igor Konashenkov said the Su-27 had been dispatched after Russian air defense facilities spotted an unknown target over the Baltic Sea, approaching the Russian border at high speed.

It identified the jet as an American reconnaissance aircraft, and after visual contact, the U.S. plane "changed its course to the opposite direction, away from the Russian border," he said. No incidents were recorded over the encounter, he said.

For now no photos or video of the incident have been released but here is a somewhat comical artist's interpretation of what may have happened, courtesy of The Aviationist.

This is merely the latest in a long series of close encounters between Russian and US airborne forces. Here, once again courtesy of The Aviationist, is a brief list of the most recent Russian-US encounters:

  • On Jan. 25, 2016 a U.S. RC-135 intelligence gathering jet was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 Flanker fighter jet over Black Sea: during the interception, the Su-27 made an aggressive turn that disturbed the controllability of the RC-135.
  • On Apr. 7, 2015 another Su-27 flew within 20 feet of an RC-135U, over the Baltic Sea.
  • On Apr. 23, 2015 a U.S. Air Force RC-135U Combat Sent performing a routine surveillance mission in international airspace over the Sea of Okhotsk, north of Japan, some 60 miles off eastern Russia was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 Flanker that crossed the route of the U.S. aircraft putting itself within 100 feet of the Combat Sent.

It's not just the Russians. Chinese pilots have also come close:

In 2014, a Chinese Flanker made a barrel roll over a U.S. Navy P-8 maritime surveillance plane 135 miles east of Hainan Island, a spot of a far more dangerous close encounter of another U.S. electronic surveillance plane with the Chinese Navy back in 2001.

On Apr. 1, 2001, a U.S. Navy EP-3E with the VQ-1, flying an ELINT (Electronic Intelligence) mission in international airspace 64 miles southeast of the island of Hainan was intercepted by two PLAN (People’s Liberation Army Navy) J-8 fighters.

One of the J-8s piloted by Lt. Cdr. Wang Wei, made two close passes to the EP-3 before colliding with the spyplane on the third pass. As a consequence, the J-8 broke into two pieces and crashed into the sea causing the death of the pilot, whereas the EP-3, severely damaged, performed an unauthorized landing at China’s Lingshui airfield.

The 24 crew members (21 men and three women), that destroyed all (or at least most of ) the sensitive items and data on board the aircraft, were detained by Chinese authorities until Apr. 11.

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TeamDepends's picture

Keep this up Vlad, and Barry will be forced to Pink-Line ya!

Zero Point's picture

In a dogfight between Vlad and Barry, Barry will be "inverted".

WordSmith2013's picture

Russia’s Magrav Technology already put's Western weapon system to shame!


What frightened the USS Donald Cook back to port in the Baltic Sea?

Manthong's picture

Let’s do a thought problem and change the headline to “ US Fighter Jet Flies Within 50 Feet Of Russian Recon Plane Over the Gulf of Mexico”.

BTW…that Chinese fighter pilot a few years back got a real haircut…  he came up under one of the port propellers and the prop took out his canopy

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

No big deal. The Russian pilot had just watched Maverick and Goose do an inverted canopy to canopy engagement and felt inspired to try it himself.

How do you say "Top Gun" in Russian?

Top Gun Bitches

Muddy1's picture

and again the US makes no response but to tremble in cowardly fear

much ado was made over the fact that the plane which buzzed the US warship was unarmed, this plane was obviously armed, and agressive, yet our Air Force cowers in fear

SilverSphinx's picture

Prudent action to avoid thermonuclear warfare is not cowardly fear.


I suspect the Russian action is actually a response to as-yet-unknown US provocation.

Muh Raf's picture

The mainstream media is just one big euphemism these days. For "reconnaissance" read "spy". Why on earth would the Ruskies want to buzz a spy plane on it's borders? Gee, I just can't understand it....

o r c k's picture

The Ruskies need to do something more "professional" like bombing a Hospital.

Apofigei's picture

The article whould have had more credibility if didn't use "baltic sea" and "black sea" interchangeably. They should make up their mind, where the incident of such importance took place.

Peacefulwarrior's picture

Lets do the Math...Barry is already "Perverted" so "Inverted" will be his preferred pleasure...

Squid Viscous's picture

don't fret - our Commander in Queef will handle this!

just the tip's picture

i came up on his six as we moved through the clouds.........


stant's picture

Goose and mavarick was not available for comment

zeronetwork's picture

It looks like US redar system is unable to detect Russian planes.

Peacefulwarrior's picture

It's All Good now, Nick Fury just arrived in the SHIELD Helicarrier...

Freddie's picture

The USA better escort those KC-135s with something top of the line like the F-35.

Oh...the F-35 does not fly.  Nevermind.

Patriot Eke's picture

I had to log in just to up arrow your comment.  /bow

skinwalker's picture

Now, I don't know for sure, but I occasionally have the ability to think critically. 


Conjecture: as something increases in complexity, the chances for malfunction also increase. 


Let's assume the F-35 does everything it's supposed to. 


It's still one of the most complex pieces of macheinery ever built. Consider how much maintenance an M4 rifle requires in the field. Then consider that compared to the F-35, the M4 is about as complex as a brick. 


I suspect that even if the F-35 does everything it's supposed to, it will destroy the military due to maintenance costs. 


But I don't really know. 

Dr. Spin's picture

Damn the taxpayers, full speed ahead...


monk27's picture

If I understand this right, USAF is complaining that the ugly Russians don't let them play their spy games safely, a few miles from their teritorry... OK ! LOL !!

chunga's picture

I say we strap Top Gun McCain in one of them. He'll teach 'em a lesson.

undermind's picture

Lesson on egress and crash landing procedures.

Which way to the beach's picture

McCain give lessons on how to sing like little birdie at the Hanoi Hilton.


Capn Mike's picture

There's a reason they called him "Crash" McCain.

MiTasol's picture

The main purpose of the F-35 is to enrich Lockheed Martin shareholders.  Any flying it might do is secondary.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

With orders of magnitude more lines of software code than you 'friendly' Windows 10, it's a wonder it flies at all. The fact that nearly two decades after Lockheed Martin 'won' the shareholder gift that keeps on giving and the plane is still suffering 'developmental' issues and is a long way from being fully operational is amazing.

Can't we go back to the good old days of $750 toilet seats?


SilverSphinx's picture{%22showArea%22:false,%22showLine%22:false,%22showCandle%22:true,%22lineType%22:%22candle%22,%22range%22:%225y%22,%22allowChartStacking%22:true}


It's working.

agNau's picture

Quick thought.....
Extremely advanced (comparable Russian ship) sails w/in minimum international waters of coast at one of our major naval bases.
What would be our response?

90's Child's picture

At least the Russians have a humor bout this shit.

The pentagon just cries foul.

Bunga Bunga's picture

Calm down, Pentagon could just higher those Russian pilots with H1Bs.

Ignatius's picture

The manuever is called the "Reverse Top Gun."  Happens all the time. 

Now back to our regular Russian coverage where there's a bug in everyone's soup and a light out in every room.

monk27's picture

The Russians must have figured that they can scare the living shit out of our politically-correct-gender-neutral-non-racist-micro-aggression-trained crews. They are just making fun of our guys (girls ?), while incidentally doing their jobs too...

Dugald's picture


Precision flying, and loving it tooooooooo!

bugs_'s picture

don't go the wong wei

Squid Viscous's picture

did they let a "combat ready" chick fly the plane again, they can't drive a fucking golf cart

Bangin7PoundCocks's picture
Bangin7PoundCocks (not verified) Apr 17, 2016 2:30 PM

That's same shit happened to Maverick & Goose in the 80's.

Arnold's picture

Blue Ray introduced to former USSR -- 2015;

Replaces Beta Max as standard.

Balkan's picture

To be honest, this isn't quite true.

Betamax wasn't popular at all in eastern Europe. VHS was in use in 1990s, and then was quickly replaced by CD and DVD records. Blue Ray wasn't and still isn't popular at all on the East. People use mp4, mkv (sometimes avi, mpg) computer files to watch and keep movies.

roadhazard's picture

Can you imagine the posts if Obama did that. lol, Pootin= OK !

roadhazard's picture

KMA, son. You clowns can dish it out but can't take it, as usual. I love it when you run that lip out, bitch.

monk27's picture

You're a moronic troll who doesn't deserve anything more substantial than that. So Fuck Off again...

roadhazard's picture

weak, son. You need to work on your flamage.

monk27's picture

You're not worth more, and I've already wasted too much time on you. Go away...

Volaille de Bresse's picture

Obviously Putin is NOT impressed by the 3.5 bil Obozo dropped on the Eastern forces of NATO to strengthen them.


With 10K fo fuel and a single SU-27 he made sure Nato and Obozo now look like pussies ("pizda" in Russian). Well done Vlad!