Watch Russian Fighter Jets Come Shockingly Close to a U.S. Navy Ship
SU-24 fighters repeatedly blast by American destroyer with just feet to spare.
A pair of Russian fighter jets repeatedly blasted dangerously close to a U.S. Navy destroyer stationed in the Baltic Sea on April 11 and 12, the Navy announced on April 13.
The incident began when the U.S.S. Donald Cook, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, was conducting a series of exercises with a Polish military helicopter on April 11. While the drills were underway, a pair of Russian Su-24 Fencer fighter-bombers began high-speed, low-altitude flybys that Maverick would have been proud of.
The next day, a Russian KA-27 Helix helicopter dogged the Donald Cook, passing over it several times at what the destroyer's commanding officer considered an unsafe altitude. Less than an hour later, two Su-24s arrived, and laid down no fewer than 11 close-range passes that simulated the flight path the planes would take if they were attacking the ship.
"They tried to raise [the Russian aircraft] on the radio but they did not answer," a U.S. Navy source told Reuters. The same official said the planes had no visible weapons. However, the Su-24 packs an internal 23mm automatic cannon with 500 rounds of ammunition.
The White House condemned the aggressive Russian maneuvers, just as you'd expect in a Tom Clancy novel come to life. The Russian behavior, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said, was "entirely inconsistent with the professional norms of militaries operating in proximity to each other in international waters and international airspace."
“There have been repeated incidents over the last year where the Russian military, including Russian military aircraft, have come close enough to each other or have come close enough to other air and sea traffic to raise serious safety concerns," Earnest said, "and we continue to be concerned about this behavior.”
The Donald Cook, which was operating in international waters during the incident, was recently dispatched to the area along with three other U.S. Navy vessels to shore up the American military presence in Europe. The recent incident is not the first time the ship has been buzzed by Russian aircraft; a pair of Su-24 aircraft overflew the ship in the Black Sea almost two years ago to the day.
Aww. Sounds like somebody has a little crush.