Doing the Netanyahu: A Russian fighter jet Intercepts U.S. Reconnaissance, but U.S. Accuses Russia*
RC-135 U.S. reconnaissance aircraft (Reuters//U.S. Air Force)
An American RC-135U reconnaissance aircraft was buzzed by a Russian Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jet over the Baltic Sea near Russia’s Kaliningrad Region, according to the Pentagon, which accused the Russian pilot of coming dangerously close to the US aircraft.
“On the morning of April 7, a US RC-135U, flying a routine route in international airspace, was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 Flanker in an unsafe and unprofessional manner,” the Washington Free Beacon (WFB) cited Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen M. Lainez as saying.
“The United States is raising this incident with Russia in the appropriate diplomatic and official channels,” she added.
The official said that a Russian Su-27 (NATO designation – Flanker) passed within a half-dozen meters of the unarmed reconnaissance aircraft, whereas the Sukhoi’s wingspan is 14.7 meters. The Pentagon spokeswoman dubbed the behavior of Russian pilot “reckless” and endangering the safety of the RC-135 crew.
Major-General Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, said that the interception was launched after “Russian air defense radars spotted an unidentified air target over the Baltic Sea making steady progress toward the national border.” The aircraft had its transponder turned off, Konashenkov said.
The Sukhoi Su-27 dispatched to intercept the target identified it as a US Air Force reconnaissance aircraft RC-135U and reported the aircraft’s type and tail number to headquarters. After the Su-27 made several fly-bys around the spy plane, the RC-135U altered course and moved away from Russian border.
“No emergency situation was reported during the fly-by of the American reconnaissance aircraft,” Konashenkov said.
Comment: The trouble is, does the U.S. know what the proper channels are, and how to apply them?