Russian Fighters Buzz US Navy Destroyer at Near Range, US Says

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Source:   —  April 13, 2016, at 7:27 PM

S. Navy destroyer in the Baltic Sea nearly two dozen times earlier this week, with one pass at thirtieth feet from the ship causing wake in the waters nearby, a U.

Russian fighter jets overflew a U. S. Navy destroyer in the Baltic Sea nearly two dozen times earlier this week, with one pass at thirtieth feet from the ship causing wake in the waters nearby, a U. S. Defense Dept official said today.

The fighters ignored repeated communications from the American ship, and the ship'south Capt has labeled the Russian overflights as "unsafe and unprofessional," executive said.

On Monday and Tuesday, pairs of Russian SU-24 fighters overflew the destroyer USS Donald Cook at near range while it was in international waters in the Baltic Sea, seventy nautical miles off of Kaliningrad, Russia, a U. S. Defense official confirmed.

On Monday, the destroyer was conducting flight operations with a Polish military helicopter that was conducting landing operations on the ship, the official said.

A pair of unarmed Russian SU-24’s then “conducted a series of low passes over the ships, came within 1.000 yards and within one hundred feet of altitude," the official said, noting that the aircraft eventually conducted twenty passes over the destroyer.

As a result of the ongoing Russian overflights, the training operations with the Polish helicopter were suspended and the helicopter was kept on deck, the executive said.

On Tuesday, a Russian KA-27 “Helix” helicopter circled the destroyer seven times taking photos of the ship, the executive said.

After several minutes, a pair of SU-24’s began the first of eleven passes over the ship that the Defense official characterized as "much more aggressive."

"These were very low simulated attack profiles, came within thirty feet of the ship, under one hundred feet in altitude," said the official, noting that "the reports were that it was creating wake in the water it was so close.”

On Tuesday, one pass by the Russian fighters flew thirty feet off the destroyer, creating a wake by the ship as it flew at an alt. of less than one hundred feet, the official said. That pass occurred as the Russian fighters carried out eleven simulated low attack runs over the destroyer.

The Russian fighters didn't reply to multiple radio communications from the American ship to "query them while they were still many miles away," the official said, noting that the commander of the USS Donald Cook called the Russian moves “unsafe and unprofessional."

A further assessment is below way that could lead to a complaint filed by the Pentagon with the Russians, according to the official.

The American destroyer was operating alone at the time of the incidents, though there two Russian ships in the area, a frigate and an auxiliary intelligence gathering ship shadowing the destroyer, according to the official. It'd left a harbour of call in Gdynia, Poland, to conduct the training exercise with the Polish helicopter.

The crew aboard the destroyer took photos and video of the incident.

Russian overflights of U. S. Navy ships have occurred in international waters in the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea, though the incidents this week show up to be the closest overflights yet. That includes the USS Donald Cook that was overflown by Russian fighters more than a dozen times in April two thousand fourteen while it was in international waters in the Black Sea.

The official said it's believed that the Russian aircraft flew from Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave on the Baltic that's a key Russian military area.

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