A pair of Russian Su-35 Fighter Jets performed a dangerous intercept of a US Navy Plane which was operating in international airspace on Tuesday, further racheting up tensions between the two countries. As The Washington Times reports:
A pair of Russian air-defense fighter jets buzzed a U.S. Navy patrol aircraft over the Mediterranean Sea on Tuesday in what officials called an “unsafe and unprofessional manner.”
The U.S. Navy P-8A Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft was over international waters in the eastern Mediterranean region when it was intercepted by two Russian Su-35 fighters.
For more than an hour, the Russian jets were on each wing of the P-8A patrol aircraft, which is based on the civilian 737 airliner. The dangerous maneuver restricted the patrol aircraft’s ability to operate in a safe manner, Navy officials said.
“The unnecessary actions of the Russian Su-35 pilots were inconsistent with good airmanship and international flight rules, and jeopardized the safety of flight of both aircraft,” Navy officials said.
The incident was the third of its kind in the past several months, prompting questions about just what the Russians are trying to accomplish with such provocative acts.