Home » Aviation » Video: Russian Fighters Buzz USS Donald Cook in Baltic Sea


Video: Russian Fighters Buzz USS Donald Cook in Baltic Sea

160412-N-00000-004 BALTIC SEA – Two Russian Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft fly over the USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) April 12, 2016. Donald Cook, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, forward deployed to Rota, Spain is conducting a routine patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Two Russian Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft fly over the USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) April 11, 2016. US Navy Photo

This post will be updated as additional information becomes available.

The guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) was buzzed on April 11, 2016 in the Baltic Sea by a pair of Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer fighters. As seen in a video released by U.S. European Command on Wednesday afternoon.

“On April 11, Donald Cook was conducting deck landing drills with an Allied
military helicopter when two Russian SU-24 jets made numerous, close-range
and low altitude passes at approximately 3 p.m. local,” read a release from U.S. European Command provided to USNI News.

“One of the passes, which occurred while the allied helicopter was refueling on the deck of Donald Cook, was deemed unsafe by the ship’s commanding officer. As a safety precaution, flight operations were suspended until the SU-24s departed the
area.”

Press reports indicated the allied helicopter was Polish.

160412-N-00000-006 BALTIC SEA – Two Russian Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft perform multiple low-level passes over the USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) April 12, 2016. Donald Cook, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, forward deployed to Rota, Spain is conducting a routine patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Two Russian Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft perform multiple low-level passes over the USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) April 12, 2016. US Navy Photo

160412-N-00000-007 BALTIC SEA – A Russian Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft makes a low altitude pass by the USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) April 12, 2016. Donald Cook, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, forward deployed to Rota, Spain is conducting a routine patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. (U.S. Navy photo/Released) 160412-N-

A Russian Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft makes a low altitude pass by the USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) April 12, 2016. US Navy Photo

A Russian Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft makes a very low altitude pass by USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) April 12, 2016. US Navy Photo

A Russian Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft makes a very low altitude pass by USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) April 12, 2016. US Navy Photo

160412-N-00000-009 BALTIC SEA – Two Russian Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft fly over the USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) Apr. 12, 2016. Donald Cook, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, forward deployed to Rota, Spain is conducting a routine patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Two Russian Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft fly over the USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) Apr. 12, 2016. US Navy Photo

The following day, a pair of KA27 Kamov Helix helicopters orbited the ship taking photos in what officials called a “simulated attack profile” in several press reports.

A Russian Kamov KA-27 HELIX flies low-level passes near the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) on April 12, 2016. US Navy Photo

A Russian Kamov KA-27 HELIX flies low-level passes near the
Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) on April 12, 2016. US Navy Photo

According to a U.S. official that was quoted by CBS, “They were so close they created wakes in the water.”

U.S. European Command expressed “deep concerns about the unsafe and unprofessional Russian flight maneuvers. These actions have the potential to unnecessarily escalate
tensions between countries, and could result in a miscalculation or accident that could cause serious injury or death,” read the statement.
“U.S. officials are using existing diplomatic channels to address the interactions, while the incidents are also being reviewed through U.S. Navy channels.”

USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) arrives at Naval Station Rota, Spain on Feb. 11, 2014. US Navy Photo

USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) arrives at Naval Station Rota, Spain on Feb. 11, 2014. US Navy Photo

The two recent incidents follow a similar series of 2014 flybys in which “Sukhoi SU-24 Fencer flew as close as 1,000 yards from USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) at an altitude of only 500 feet.”

The Pentagon called the 2014 incident “provocative and unprofessional,” at the time.

  • muzzleloader

    This is provocation level one. I say paint these bastards with fire control radar, and lock missiles onto them.
    Warn them that further like actions will be construed as hostile action. If they then persist, blow them out of the sky.

    • Gruntyginman

      >I say paint these bastards with fire control radar, and lock missiles onto them.

      This is stupidity level one. Do you seriously think that this -isn’t- the goal? Those Su-24s are undoubtedly carrying collection equipment. It would be a great intel gathering mission if we did that.

      • muzzleloader

        So do you think that if F-18 f’s or F-15E’s pulled a stunt like that on a Russian Kirov or Krivak that the Captains of those ships would do nothing?

        • Secundius

          That’s what Putin’s Hoping For? That WE Actually Do, DO SOMETHING. Create an Incident, and Claim Naked Aggression on OUR (the USA’s) PART…

    • Leonard Sturm

      Yes……Agreed….

    • Lawrence Trevethan

      Its not quite that simple. IF the aircraft were armed, and if there was an indication they were actually engaged in targeting, one must fire before, repeat before, they reach weapons release range. To fail to do so risks losing a multi-billion dollar warship and her crew. This decision lies with the ship’s captain ALONE: under US law “the right of self defense cannot be denied” – even by a Presidential order (tested in court with that result). This is why “miscalculation” is a serious risk: it does not matter what the (dead) pilot’s intentions really were – only what they seemed to be by the local officer in charge. There are joint protocols with the Russian Navy that should have prevented these acts (or some of them). The Russians are not honoring their agreements (again). Remember, Ukraine’s territory is guaranteed by a treaty signed by Russia, as well as by Russia’s obligations as a UN member. But that wasn’t good enough to prevent invasion. This is part of a pattern (see Georgia and Muldovia). It is a behavior choice.

      • ohyan2919

        Why wasn’t the Cook crew at battle stations? These strafing runs went on for over 20 minutes according to some reports, each pass being well within weapons release range.

    • ohyan2919

      According to some reports the Cook could not do that.

    • Marko Ivanišević

      After that your ship would be on the seabed of the Baltic sea very quickly.

  • World’s Best TLO

    I’d recognize CDR Chuck Hampton’s voice anywhere.

  • Marcd30319

    How’s the Kool-Aid? Go peddle crazy somewhere else.

  • Stormking101

    They buzz the ship because that’s really all they can do…the Russian’s are no threat, and they know it, so they try to stir up trouble so they can point fingers and then will try to discredit the USA when we knock down a plane or two, claiming the planes were operating in Russian airspace, or international waters, etc. We all know the Russian’s do one thing and say something else entirely…that’s the way they’ve operated for generations. To expect anything else is pure ignorance.

  • bee bop

    Maverick buzzing the tower! They definitely study our movies. Top Gun came out in May 16, 1986…still a viable study of Naval Aviation and its antics. Just letting you know they keep up with us and like to play it back in the most subtle of ways. This is a show of the younger generation strategy with more current movies for their SOP. The earlier generations of Russian operatives back to the cold war of the fifties liked to play back the sci-fi grade B, black and white movies of that time. Thats what you go looking for if you want to find ’em. If they wanted to really shoot the Cook, they’ve got over-the-horizon sh-t for that, referred to in weapon systems, using the French word, “defilade” fire(non-line-of-sight). A short round up his tail pipe may have slowed him a bit. Gee…they’re carrying cruise missiles !!

  • RobM1981

    I saw this last night, rolled over and slept like a baby: confident that my Commander In Chief, “Backbone of Iron Obama” had things under control.

  • olesalt

    This is gross irritation by the Russians. I agree with muzzleloader i.e. lock missiles on the 2 recalcitrant aircraft to show the USN ship is ready to react to further provocations. This is the only way to deal with aggressors who will go all out to irritate & test the ship’s readiness for action. This is similar “communist USSR” tactics as in the past – never trust Putin & his cohorts.

  • Tim Dolan

    The ships should carry barrage balloons, that will likely make them think a bit about flying way too close, just a thought. Not our fault if the tether accidently breaks and the line strikes the plane and gets sucked into the jet engine.

    • publius_maximus_III

      …Or some drones like the ones that recently buzzed and photographed one of our carriers in the Mediterranean. Hard to see at those speeds, but would hate to suck one up into an intake — flameout!

  • vincedc

    If you have ever been stationed at Guantanamo Bay, their ships would transit right through the base to get their berthing at the end of the bay. This is just a good chance for us to train out radar operators on real targets. Much ado about nothing.

  • Bill

    Serious question to someone who has been in similar situations: the SU-24’s were pointing weapons at the DDG (internal guns at least). Would visibly tracking them with the 5″ and CIWS not be an equivalent response? They can’t see the VLS missiles doing anything and you may not want them to analyze your fire control radar.

  • publius_maximus_III

    That Phalanx shown in one of the photos should have been following them around the whole time. Provocations call for responses.

  • publius_maximus_III

    But everything is all hunky-dory over there with your ISIS fwends, T? Better stay away from those soccer stadiums, concert halls, and restaurants, Dutchman. Oh yeah, and don’t look one of them in the eye, that’s considered a provocation.

  • publius_maximus_III

    “before” the fall

  • Ted

    Do you guys remember this EXACT SCENARIO happening two years ago almost to the exact date? April 10, 2014 a russian fighter simulated attack approaches something like 12 times on the Donald “Sitting” Duck (er I mean Cook). The rumor was that the Russians disabled all the electronics (MS Windows based system!! hahaha) and the Cook was “dead” in the water. Maybe the Cook upgraded their e-warfare capabilities, but looks like the ole Ruskies have as well.

    • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

      Indeed we remember.
      Kremlin propaganda network Sputnik also told us that the crew all resigned en masse when they returned to port.

      • Those rumors are nine-ways false. We spent a good deal of effort trying to substantiate those claims from Russia and couldn’t do it. Lots of reasons why the claim is suspect, but the physics don’t work.

  • Lawrence Trevethan

    Ignorant. The Russians take nuclear weapons very seriously – probably more than any other nation does. They have strategic studies degrees at levels without peer in the West. Their aggression using “little green men” is carefully calculated is based on a realistic evaluation of consequences. The Russians believe, for cause, they can get away with a lot WITHOUT risk of nuclear warfare. And, whatever you may believe, THEY regard using nuclear weapons as “insane” – quite different from NATO. In particular, the Russians would never use nuclear weapons in a situation where they had no evidence of an impending nuclear strike on Russia. The only case their general staff ever recommended an attack was on WESTERN EUROPE but NOT the USA – with 400 nukes – and it was based on a misinterpretation that two test missiles over Norway were a strike on Moscow to kill their leadership.

  • Catdog

    Nice air show.

  • Secundius

    Putin and a “Ghost Unit”…

  • Secundius

    And Just Exactly, How Did Montgomery’s Brainchild “Operation: Market Garden” SUCCEED? The Poles were Nearly Annihilated, the British Couldn’t Coordinate their Forces because of Mixed-Match Crystals in the Radio’s. And Withdrew their Forces in 27 September 1944. While the American 502nd PIR were STILL there THROUGH November of 1944…

  • Secundius

    I LIVE IN Washington, DC.! I SEE IT UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL. I DON’T GET THE “WATERED DOWN” VERSION YOU SEE ON “REUTERS TV”…

  • Roger Parkhurst

    I see this as a potential return to “cold war” cat-n-mouse games that both navies used to test each other electronic systems and their signatures for use to identify counter-measures. I am sure we will not hear how the US has conducted similar provocations. The folks in the NEWS agencies don’t recall or were not around when fishing trawler’s and sub chases and ASW activity was implemented anytime an adverse country was conducting “training exercises.”

    Another aspect that brings this activity to everyone’s attention is the internet and cell phone’s with camera’s: hard to keep it a secret or provide time to “spin it.”

    What I find interesting is that the region is now in the news after the book “Commander In Chief” identifies the importance of this region to Russia.

  • sferrin

    This is what you get when you have a weak President.

  • John Locke

    Just like the old days.

    I have video of the same kind of stuff that I took in the 80’s and wow, even Ron
    Reagan didn’t intimidate the Soviets.

    Nothing new here

  • Lawrence Trevethan

    You are almost sure because you operate on the basis of hostile anti-US assumptions, not because you are familiar with doctrine, deployment, or the sea changes which occurred 30 years ago. The last commander of SAC, Gen Butler, forced his entire staff, and the JCS, to read the entire set of planning documents. That led to wholesale changes, including the end of SAC, the removal of entire classes of nuclear weapons from inventory, and other things. This set of changes involved negotiations with all nuclear powers, and a new regime permitting inspections, overflights, and other ‘confidence building measures.’ Other things included rules to PREVENT operational force encounters which might cause ‘miscalculation’ – these being what Russia has elected to violate, in part.

  • Secundius

    Is Suspect it’s because, most American’s Don’t Like to Eat Borscht…

  • Lawrence Trevethan

    There is a military truism: Amateurs talk strategy. Professionals talk logistics. Before the “build down” began, which abolished most types of nw and delivery systems, they were stored in secure locations not too near the front lines, so field units could be rearmed in the event of a fight. It was less than wise: in fact the Soviet’s targeted such storage depots, and their planning, which we now can study, was to put them on the list of initial targets. Their idea, which is realistic, was that if you must fight a nuclear war, it is best to get rid of most enemy nw in your first move. NATO had a more idealistic, if unrealistic, devotion to the idea no one would want to escalate, so one could use one or two as a “warning” that “things are getting serious.” Just before 1990 things began to change dramatically, in negotiations and then on the ground.

  • Lawrence Trevethan

    For once, to my surprise, we nearly agree. Except at sea, or re a deep underground target, there is no meaningful difference at all between a tactical nw and a strategic nw. Modern nukes are adjustable in yield, and none today have the huge yields of the Cold War era (megatons), so all are more or less in the 10-80 kiloton range – and all can be used on tactical or strategic targets. A ‘limited’ nw is practical only if one side has few weapons (e.g. DPRK = North Korea), or if use is confined to the deep ocean (e.g. hunting a SSBN gone rogue in which perhaps even normally enemy nations cooperate in hunting it). Today the world is much safer BECAUSE we have agreed on standards of weapons, and behaviors. Breaking those protocols (by Russia) is dangerous beyond my ability to exaggerate.

  • falstaff77

    Right, because it was the US whose aircraft just buzzed a Russian naval vessel in international waters, the US who deployed nuclear weapons in Cuba in the 60s, the US who invaded and seized Crimea, Afghanistan, and eastern Ukraine. It was the US who shot down a passenger jet over the Ukraine. Right.

    The evil empire is back, same as it ever was.

  • falstaff77

    Yes, you *Europeans* caused two world wars, in part by pretending there was no threat from a clear threat (Hitler), like Putin and the jihadists now, and at the same time pretending a threat came from some non-threat, again like now.

    And BTW, read up sometime on the this apparently unknown war called the American Civil War, with by far the largest single day combat casualty rates in the 19th century, and killing a fifth of all southern males age 20 to 24.

  • falstaff77

    Thanks for straightening me out. See, I always thought the 3500 US casualties that were suffered that week of Market Garden occurred somewhere in the Netherlands. My mistake.

    Also, thanks for your truth about how the US did nothing to help Europe before Pearl Harbor. I always thought the $659 billion (today’s dollars) in amo, food, and destroyers the US started sending via Lend Lease before the US entered the war had helped out a bit, but it must have all gone to Casablanca instead.

  • Paul

    An important conclusion for Poles: NATO will do nothing when Russian planes fly over Poland. (not a big surprise, we had our lesson learned in the 1939)

    • Secundius

      Probably what the Stalin said too, Just Before the “Berlin Airlift” of 1948-1949…

  • Secundius

    Oh Yeah, Right (Double Negitive, Oxymoron)? 5,000 plus Americans At Schinnen-Bruinssun, about 10% of the Local City Population and also about 10% of the Paper Strength of the Netherlands Army too…

  • Secundius

    @ USNI News, Moderator.

    Down-Loaded This One Too, so Go Ahead…

  • Secundius

    USNI, “Redacted” my Comment to you. So I Guess your going to have to “Vent” on Somebody Else…

  • Secundius

    When you have a THICK SKULL like YOUR’s, then you have too “BASH”…

  • falstaff77

    As always the US is on the front lines on behalf of allies not 6000 km away. This is the case currently with the USS D. Cook in the Baltic, my classmate as its last CO, and with US forces now stationed in the Baltic states as part of NATO.

    And enough with this fantasy about how the US has no history of total war at home. The city of my birth was burned to the ground by an invading army.

  • falstaff77

    Simple enough to put actions where your mouth is. Just abandon NATO, tear it up, surrender to Putin and become a member of the Russian Federation. Das va donya.

    The US doesn’t stay when (former) allies choose to go alone. Most Americans would just as well pull the 50,000 troops out of Germany. So do that, quit NATO, and get those posts ready about how the US did not do a damn thing to stop Putin.

  • ohyan2919

    You sound like you know things, but I happen to know that makes no sense.

  • ohyan2919

    These Russians could have easily released their weapons had that been the mission. My question is why did the US commander allow this? Could the reports of superior Russian EWF be true? To me that Captsin has a lot to answer for.

    • Secundius

      As I Recall, the Poles were also in the Area, and the Poles were the Host Nation There. It would have been THEIR Judgement Call to Make…

  • Secundius

    Unfortunately, Most of those 20-Million Russian Killed, was bt Fratricide (Death By Stalin)…

  • Secundius

    Unfortunately, If you Vote WRONG? There’s a 50/50 Chance of Destroying the Economy of your Country (the Netherlands). Think About It…

  • Secundius

    The Soviet Union, lost approximately 40.0-Million in WW2! 8.668-Million in Actual Military Combat Dead, and ~17.332 Civilian Related Combat Dead. ~26.741-Million were Culled by the Personal Orders of Joseph Stalin. To Feed the Remaining People in the Country and the Soviet Army. Records come from the Russian Central Defense Ministry Archive…

  • publius_maximus_III

    I believe it was Jesus who said, “Domestic problems like infrastructure, racism, and disproportional violence on schools Ye always have amongst Thee.”

  • publius_maximus_III

    “YOU PEOPLE???” he screamed and shouted.

  • publius_maximus_III

    No, you just want to sit back and let somebody else do the dirty work for you, as usual.

    That Netherlands vote against the Ukraine wouldn’t have anything to do with another major corporation, GAZPROM, and Russia’s past threats to turn off the gas supply for Europeans in the dead of winter? At least the French showed some backbone with their cancellation of the Russian Mistral warship order. Somebody over there is standing up to the bully on the block. But enough of you folks are caving to keep ole Poot coming back for more, like a blackmailer who wants more and more in order to remain quiet.

  • Ed L

    Conn to Helm, Steady as you go. I would have turned off the weather decks speakers and gone every quietly to GQ just to set zebra and get the repair lockers ready just in case the idiot lost it. Back in the day on the Gator’s we had the CWIZ with a ready box of Ammo. Wonder if reloading the CWIZ still takes forever. When I first join the old timers use to talk about the side swiping that when on with Soviet warships. There is a book out. The chess players a novel of the Cold War at sea

  • George Vickers

    So why was the USS Donald Cook illegally in the area in the first place? The Russians were pretty professional about this by not simply sinking the illegal intruders.

    • Secundius

      It Wasn’t! The Montreux Convention of 1936, Allows Foreign Registered Ships (Not Permanently Based in the Black Sea) 21 Days of Free Passage Within the Black Sea. The Russians SIMPLY Didn’t Want US (the USA) There…

  • George

    Usa have no business in the baltic sea anyway. I seriously doubt if most Americans know where that is. I didnt invite you to my back yard so fuck off back to your USA. Getting back on point, the Donald got pretty fried I read,

  • opinionated_too

    When I was in, we had a Russian destroyer playing cat and mouse with us and our sister ship, in the middle of the Atlantic. We both went to GQ and they backed off.

  • HJ

    they were disabled by emw
    their systems were all shot down, the Su 24 was waiting for a lock on and there was none…. all aegis systems were disabled and weapons and defensive countermeasures were disabled as well… the Cook went to Romania for repairs and 27 sailors RESIGNED and flew home on their own dime, why?
    because the russians could of blew them out of the water as the ship was helpless…. now all that tech is in ALL of russia’s fighters…. US Navy and nato navy is helpless

  • Scott Ferguson

    All you do is spew RT babble.

  • Scott Ferguson

    Others just scream and shout 🙂

    You babble.

  • Scott Ferguson

    LMAO!

    Lay off the bong.

    Russia INVADED and OCCUPIED Eastern Europe, suka.

  • Scott Ferguson

    We know that’s all you spew.

  • Scott Ferguson

    Learn English, suka.

  • Scott Ferguson

    LMAO!

    What’s the Russian military?

  • Scott Ferguson

    What bovine excrement….At least you’re consistent.

  • Scott Ferguson

    Ohh, but, you are not discussing, you are bashing 🙂

  • Scott Ferguson

    Wrong.

  • Scott Ferguson

    Shoo, suka.

    Your pals invaded the Ukraine and will get SPANKED for it.