A Russian fighter jet on Sunday intercepted an American Navy spy plane in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea for the second time in four days, the United States military said.
The US Navy released a brief, seven-second video clip showing a Russian SU-35 fighter plane fly within 25 feet in front of a P-8A Poseidon aircraft – a maneuver that the Pentagon said was ‘unsafe and unprofessional.’
The American military said that the Russian pilot twice intercepted the US Navy aircraft ‘over a period of 100 minutes.’
‘The first intercept was deemed safe and professional,’ according to a statement from the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet.
The above image is taken from a short video clip released by the United States Navy’s Sixth Fleet. It shows a Russian SU-35 fighter jet intercepting an American P-8A Poseidon aircraft in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea on Sunday
According to the American military, the Russian jet came dangerously close to the US P-8A
The Americans said that the SU-35 came within 25 feet of the P-8A, exposing the US aircraft to wake turbulence and jet exhaust’
‘The second intercept was determined to be unsafe and unprofessional due to the SU-35 conducting a high-speed, high-powered maneuver that decreased aircraft separation to within 25 feet, directly in front of the P-8A exposing the US aircraft to wake turbulence and jet exhaust.’
The P-8A then ‘descended to create separation and ensure safety of both aircraft,’ according to the Sixth Fleet.
‘The unnecessary actions of the Russian SU-35 pilot were inconsistent with good airmanship and international flight rules, seriously jeopardizing the safety of flight of both aircraft.’
DailyMail.com has reached out to the Russian government seeking comment about the US Navy’s allegations.
On Thursday, the US Navy said that a Russian jet flew within 25 feet of a US surveillance plane during an ‘unsafe’ maneuver at high-speed over the Mediterranean Sea.
An SU-35 carried out an ‘inverted’ intercept on a US P-8A Poseidon aircraft that lasted 42 minutes yesterday, according to the US Navy.
According to the statement one of the Navy’s aircraft was intercepted by the Russian jet while flying in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea.
It was claimed by the Navy that its aircraft ‘was operating consistent with international law and did not provoke this Russian activity’ when it was approached by the jet.
This is the second time this week that the Navy says one of its planes was intercepted by a Russian aircraft. A Russian fighter jet intercepted a US aircraft over international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea on Wednesday (pictured Russian SU-35’s in a file image)
A US P-8A Poseidon aircraft (picture above in a file image) was involved in an ‘unsafe’ inverted maneuver by a Russian SU-35
The US Navy said the smaller Russian jet flew ‘unsafe’ and at ‘a high-speed, inverted maneuver’, 25 feet directly in front of the American aircraft, although it is not clear which direction the plane was travelling at the time
The Navy’s 6th Fleet, which is based in Gaeta on Italy’s western coast, described the incident as ‘irresponsible’.
It said in a statement: ‘The interaction was determined to be unsafe due to the SU-35 conducting a high-speed, inverted maneuver, 25 feet directly in front of the mission aircraft, which put our pilots and crew at risk.
‘The crew of the P-8A reported wake turbulence following the interaction. The duration of the intercept was approximately 42 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.’
The crew of the P-8A Poseidon was said to have experienced ‘wake turbulence’ during the inverted maneuver.
The Navy’s 6th Fleet is based in Gaeta on Italy’s western coast and Russia has a base at the Khmeimim Air Base in Latakia, in Hmeimim. The interception happened over international airspace in the Mediterranean
F-22 stealth jets intercepted four Russian bombers and two Russian Su-35 fighter jets off the coast of Alaska and four Russian Tupolev Tu-95 bombers (one shown above)
A Russian SU-35 jet performed a similar maneuver towards a P-8A Poseidon over the Mediterranean Sea in June 2019.
The jet ‘dangerously buzzed’ the US aircraft three times over three hours and conducted a pass directly in front of it.
Officials from the 6th Fleet said at the time that the US plane was not trying to bait or ‘provoke this Russian activity’, adding again that the stunt was ‘irresponsible’.
The recent encounter comes as Russia performed another provocative test on Wednesday by firing an anti-satellite missile, according to US Space Command.
Russia’s missile system is capable of destroying satellites in low Earth orbit and comes on the heels of Russia’s on-orbit testing the US highlighted in February, the statement said.
Gen. John W. ‘Jay’ Raymond, USSPACECOM commander and US Space Force Chief of Space Operations, said the US will defend itself against ‘hostile acts in space’.
He said in statement: ‘The United States is ready and committed to deterring aggression and defending the Nation, our allies and US interests from hostile acts in space.
‘This test is further proof of Russia’s hypocritical advocacy of outer space arms control proposals designed to restrict the capabilities of the United States while clearly having no intention of halting their counterspace weapons programs.
‘Space is critical to all nations and our way of life. The demands on space systems continue in this time of crisis where global logistics, transportation and communication are key to defeating the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘It is a shared interest and responsibility of all space-faring nations to create safe, stable and operationally sustainable conditions for space activities, including commercial, civil and national security activities,’ Raymond added.
Russian and Chinese anti-satellite weapons were cited as one of the reasons for the US to create a Space Force to defend its equipment.