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Navy releases videos of 'unsafe' intercept by Russian jet

Navy releases videos of 'unsafe' intercept by Russian jet

The United States has raised concerns several times over the previous year about midair encounters between US and Russian planes, including above the Black Sea and Baltic Sea. "The Russian Su-27 then proceeded to enter the flight path of the U.S. Navy EP-3, crossing within 10 feet and executing a sharp dive below, which resulted in violent turbulence for the U.S. EP-3 and its crew members".

The Russians initially claimed their fighter approached to a "safe distance" merely to identify the American plane, but that story became hard to sustain after the U.S. Navy released video footage of the encounter, clearly showing the Russian pilot's incredibly close approach. A similar incidence was reported in December between U.S. and Russian aircraft whereby Russian attack jets were intercepted by US F-22s after flying over the de-confliction line meant to ensure safety.

The Defense Ministry said when the United States surveillance plane set course away from the Russian border, the Sukhoi-27 jet returned to the base.

"The Aerospace Force will continue to maintain reliable protection of Russia's airspace", the defense ministry said, according to the Tass news agency.

According to a statement from the US 6th Fleet, the Su-27 reportedly crossed directly into the flight path of the EP-3, "causing the EP-3 to fly through the [Su-27's] jet wash".

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A new video shared by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet to their YouTube channel shows a Russian Su-27 flying closely past a U.S. EP-3 Aries aircraft on Monday.

Capt. Pamela Kunze, the US Naval Forces Europe says, "Unsafe actions‎ increase the risk of miscalculation and midair collisions". The U.S State Department has characterized the incidence, which has raised uproars as an "unsafe" flyby. The smallest lapse of focus or error in airmanship by the intercepting aircrew can have disastrous consequences.

"We have paid attention to continuing attempts by American partners to make a noise about what is broadly speaking routine incidents of mutual escorting", the ministry said in a commentary on Thursday. "There is no margin for error and insufficient time or space for our aircrews to take corrective action".

The Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday that the incident earlier in the week was "absolutely legal and perfectly safe for the American surveillance plane".

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