USA to keep conducting its surveillance flights near Russian borders

Feb 02, 2018, 21:14
USA to keep conducting its surveillance flights near Russian borders

A dispute has erupted over the interception of an EP-3 Aries surveillance aircraft by a Russian Su-27 Flanker jet over the Black Sea on Monday.

Only days after the US accused a Russian plane of dangerously buzzing a USA military plane in the Black Sea, the Russian defense ministry said Thursday that if US pilots are depressed over Russian planes protecting its borders, they should fly other routes.

In November, a Russian Su-30 fighter flew as close as 50 feet before turning on its afterburners while intercepting a US Navy P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine warfare aircraft over the same area, and in December, two US Air Force F-22s were intercepted by Russian Su-25 and Su-35 jets.

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

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The Navy says the interaction between the two aircraft lasted about 40 minutes.

"The Aerospace Force will continue to maintain reliable protection of Russia's airspace", the Russian Defense Ministry said, according to TASS, a Russian news agency.

The Russian Defense Ministry dismissed the claim that the Russian pilot's actions were risky or unprofessional, and said the interception was nothing out of the ordinary.

According to a statement from the USA 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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Hours after the incident, the Navy released a statement Monday saying that "the Russian military is within its right to operate within global airspace, but they must behave within worldwide standards set to ensure safety and prevent incidents". The Black Sea's worldwide airspace.

The U.S. State Department protested the maneuver as "an unsafe interaction".

"These videos show the Russian Su-27 intercepting the EP-3 from a very close position, at the same altitude, and with an estimated wingtip-to-wingtip horizontal separation as little as five feet at times", Ellis said Wednesday in a statement released alongside the videos.

"The maneuvers of the Russian fighter jet on January 29 were standard, absolutely legal and perfectly safe for the American surveillance plane", the Russian Ministry said.

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