FighterSweep Fans, fifty or sixty feet is close. Thirty feet is REALLY close. Especially when you’re talking about clearance between a ship underway and a passing fighter which happens to be motoring along at fairly high subsonic speed. What does that look like, exactly? Well, ask the crew of the U.S.S. Donald Cook, a Navy destroyer cruising in the Baltic Sea. A pair of Russian Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer attack aircraft decided to come out and say hello, and did so repeatedly…even dangerously.
Russian Su-24 attack jets flew “dangerously close” to a U.S. Navy destroyer numerous times in the Baltic Sea this week, according to U.S. officials, continuing a pattern of behavior in the region that the Defense Department has previously decried.
The incidents occurred Monday and Tuesday, with the planes making multiple passes by the USS Donald Cook, a destroyer, while it was traveling in international waters, U.S. European Command officials said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. The organization released videos that show the jets roaring by at a high rate of speed, seemingly no more than a few hundred feet away.
“We have deep concerns about the unsafe and unprofessional Russian flight maneuvers,” European Command said. “These actions have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries, and could result in a miscalculation or accident that could cause serious injury or death. U.S. officials are using existing diplomatic channels to address the interactions, while the incidents are also being reviewed through U.S. Navy channels.”
The incident occurred as Washington and Moscow continue to clash on how to handle military operations in Syria and Ukraine. Army Col. Steve Warren, a spokesman for the U.S. military campaign in Iraq and Syria, told reporters Wednesday in a briefing from Baghdad that he heard “the Russians are up to their old tricks again” in the European region, but did not provide additional details.