US Navy protests against “unsafe” Russian jet interception… again

U.S. Navy photo

The US Navy’s 6th Fleet reported the interception of one of its P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft by a Russian Su-35 fighter over the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, for the third time in two months. It denounced the “unsafe and unprofessional” attitude of the Russian pilots.

While flying over international waters over the Eastern Mediterranean Sea on May 26, 2020, a P-8A Poseidon was intercepted by two Russian Su-35 aircraft for a little more than one hour. 

“The intercept was determined to be unsafe and unprofessional due to the Russian pilots taking close station on each wing of the P-8A simultaneously, restricting the P-8A’s ability to safely maneuver,” commented the U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs in a statement.

“We expect them to operate within international standards set to ensure safety and to prevent incidents, including the 1972 Agreement for the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas (INCSEA).”

Footage shot from inside the Poseidon shows the two armed fighters flying close to the wings on each side of the maritime patrol aircraft. The Navy says it was the third time such an interception was carried out in less than two months.

The 6th Fleet is headquartered at the Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy. In June 2019, it already protested against another “unsafe” interception in which the P-8A was affected by wake turbulence from a close pass. Over the span of 175 minutes, the Russian fighter jet had intercepted the US patrol aircraft three times. 

Based on the fuselage of the Boeing 737-800 with the wings of the -900, the P-8A Poseidon can be equipped, both internally and externally, with an array of armaments dedicated to submarine and anti-ship warfare, such as torpedoes, mines, depth charges, and anti-ship missiles.

The Sukhoi Su-35 is a Russian multi-role fighter jet, designed to increase the offensive capabilities of the Su-27 while giving it the ability to destroy both air and surface targets.

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