The crew of the P-8A reported wake turbulence following the interaction. The duration of the intercept was approximately 28 minutes.
On Jun. 4, 2019, a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft flying in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea was intercepted by a Russian Su-35 three times. The first and third interaction were deemed safe. According to the U.S. Navy, the second interaction was determined to be unsafe due to the Su-35 conducting a high speed pass directly in front of the mission aircraft, which put U.S. pilots and crew at risk. The crew of the P-8A reported wake turbulence following the second interaction. The duration of the intercept was approximately 28 minutes.
While the Russian aircraft was operating in international airspace, this interaction was irresponsible. We expect them 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). Unsafe actions increase the risk of miscalculation and potential for midair collisions.
The U.S. aircraft was operating consistent with international law and did not provoke this Russian activity.
The P-8A Poseidon is the U.S. Navy’s multi-mission maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft. The P-8A efficiently conducts anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and humanitarian response. These capabilities are enhanced through secure, interoperable, net-ready systems. While the aircraft is also equipped with high-quality weapon systems, it also has an open architecture to allow for expansion.
Photo credit: Dmitriy Pichugin via Wikimedia Commons