Ummm….didn’t we just report on this? Oh, wait, yes…we did. Apparently one incident involving a Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker of Russia’s Aerospace Forces doing a barrel roll over the top of an RC-135 Rivet Joint wasn’t enough because–yep, you guessed it–it happened again today. It was over the Baltic Sea…and in international airspace…again. Understandably, some hackles were raised in the Department of Defense over the incident.
A Russian Su-27 jet flew dangerously close to a U.S. Air Force RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft over the Baltic Sea on Friday, military officials said.
The Russian plane flew within 25 feet of the RC-135’s fuselage, conducting a barrel roll over the U.S. plane.
Lt. Col Michelle Baldanza, a Defense Department Spokesperson said that, “on April 29, 2016, a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft flying a routine route in international airspace over the Baltic Sea was intercepted by a Russian SU-27 in an unsafe and unprofessional manner.”
She added that the Russian plane “performed erratic and aggressive maneuvers” and that “the SU-27 intercepted the U.S. aircraft flying a routine route at high rate of speed from the side then proceeded to perform an aggressive maneuver that posed a threat to the safety of the U.S. aircrew in the RC-135.”
Baldanza said that the U.S. aircraft was operating in international airspace and “at no time crossed into Russian territory.”
“This unsafe and unprofessional air intercept has the potential to cause serious harm and injury to all aircrews involved. More importantly, the unsafe and unprofessional actions of a single pilot have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries,” she added.
This comes just a few weeks after Russian aircraft flew dangerously close to the USS Donald Cook and another RC-135 in the same area.