Russian Jet Buzzes U.S. Military Spy Aircraft, Causing 'Violent Turbulence'

A Russian jet made “unsafe” contact with a U.S. Navy reconnaissance aircraft over the weekend, the Pentagon said on Monday. The aircraft, a Russian Su-30 fighter jet, reportedly flew right around 50 feet in front of the U.S. plane, a P-8A Poseidon, resulting in the American craft experiencing "a 15-degree roll and violent turbulence," CNN reported.

“The U.S. aircraft was operating in international airspace and did nothing to provoke this Russian behavior," Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Michelle Baldanza said of the Saturday incident, which took place over the Black Sea. "Unsafe actions‎ have the potential to cause serious harm and injury to all air crews involved," he added on Monday.

The intercept, which reportedly lasted for around 25 minutes, is not the first time that Russian planes have buzzed U.S. aircraft–with several similar incidents taking place earlier this year.

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 16 A Sukhoi Su-30SM jet fighter performs during a demonstration flight at the MAKS 2017 air show. Reuters

In June, a Russian jet came within five feet of a U.S. reconnaissance plane near the Baltic Sea–with a Russian SU-27 "rapidly" approaching a U.S. RC-135 reconnaissance plane and acting "provocatively" by performing "unsafe" maneuvers, two U.S. officials told Fox News at the time of the incident. The interaction was deemed unsafe because of the “erratic” way in which the Russian aircraft had flown close to the U.S. spy plane.

That incident came amid increasing tensions between Russia and the U.S. and was followed by another incident between U.S. and Russian aircraft earlier this month, when Navy F/A-18 fighter jets were dispatched to escort two Russian TU-95 bombers away from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. However, the November incident was not found to be problematic, with a U.S. official commenting at the time that the interaction–which saw the Russian planes flying around 80 miles away from the aircraft carrier–was deemed to be safe and professional.