“Our pilots, in actual fact, helped their U.S. counterparts avoid an international incident that would have erupted if they had violated Russia’s state border,” Lt. Gen. Viktor Sevastyanov, commander of the 4th Air and Air Defence Forces Army of the Russian Southern Military District
As we have recently explained the Pentagon complained that a Russian Su-30 fighter jet had carried out an unsafe intercept of a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon on Nov. 25 over the Black Sea.
The American crew reported that the fighter crossed its flight path from right to left with its afterburners engaged. The maritime patrol aircraft had no way of avoiding its jet wash.
Few days after the incident Russian media accounts claimed the Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft was approaching the Russian coastline at high speed and only changed course after being intercepted by the Su-30.
Now, as reported by New China, a senior Russian military official says that the Russian crew of the Su-30 fighter jet helped U.S. colleagues to avoid an international incident by intercepting the U.S. Navy P-8.
“Our pilots, in actual fact, helped their U.S. counterparts avoid an international incident that would have erupted if they had violated Russia’s state border,” said Lt. Gen. Viktor Sevastyanov, the commander of the 4th Air and Air Defence Forces Army of the Russian Southern Military District, to Sputniknews.
Sevastyanov commended on the professionalism of the Su-30 crew, adding that this was the S.O.P. (Standard Operating Procedure) to prevent the violation of the international air border.
Russian military confirmed on Nov. 28, 2017 that its Su-30 fighter jet drove away a U.S. Navy aircraft P-8A Poseidon the previous Saturday over the Black Sea.
In the wake of the incident, Spokeswoman Lt. Col. Michelle Baldanza told CNN that the Russian Su-30 fighter made an “unsafe” intercept of a U.S. P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.
The U.S. plane “was operating in international airspace and did nothing to provoke this Russian behavior,” Baldanza was quoted by CNN as saying.
As we have already reported in October Sevostyanov complained that U.S. spy planes often fly very close to the Russian border during their flights over the Black Sea.
“Global Hawk and RC-135 aircraft take off for reconnaissance from NATO’s forward airbase at Sigonella on the Island of Sicily while P-8A planes start their flights from the Souda airbase [Greece]. The basic routes of their flights run along the Black Sea coast from the western part of the Crimean Peninsula up to the traverse line of Sochi. During the flights, no violations of the state border were registered and the minimum distance from the border is 10-15 km,” Sevostyanov told TASS.
He explained that Russia’s 4th Air Force and Air Defense Army fighter jets scramble not only to intercept and detect the U.S. aircraft involved in this type of mission, but also to shadow them until they are far from Russian border. “In 2017, our planes performed 100 such flights, of which operations to shadow drones accounted for over 70%,” Sevostyanov said.
These kind of sorties allow russian fighter pilots to practice “the techniques of intercepts and shadowing and the skills to identify the type of aircraft,” said Sevostyanov.
Encounters between U.S. surveillance aircraft and Russian fighter jets have become more frequent following the Russian 2014 forced annexation of Crimea and Moscow exerting its military power in the region.
Photo credit: Alex Beltyukov, http://russianplanes.net/id145423, via Wikipedia and Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Nathan Morin / U.S. Navy
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com