A Russian Su-27 fighter jet has intercepted a U.S. Navy EP-3 Aries reconnaissance aircraft flying in international airspace over the Black Sea on Nov. 5, according to a statement by the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet.
According to the statement, the interaction was determined to be unsafe due to the Su-27 conducting a high speed pass directly in front of the EP-3 mission aircraft, which put its pilots and crew at risk. It added that the intercepting fighter jet made an additional pass, closing with the EP-3 and applying its afterburner while conducting a banking turn away.
The crew of the EP-3 reported turbulence following the first interaction, and vibrations from the second and the duration of the intercept was approximately 25 minutes.
The U.S. Naval Forces Europe statement called the interaction irresponsible. It called Russia to behave 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) adding that the unsafe actions increase the risk of miscalculation and potential for midair collisions.
The statement noted that the U.S. aircraft was operating in accordance with international law and did not provoke this Russian activity.