The Navy released additional video footage of a fully armed Russian Su-27 fighter intercepting a U.S. Navy EP-3E Aries II surveillance aircraft over the Black Sea on Jan. 29, 2017. The new footage clearly shows the armed fighter came within five feet of the Aries II during the encounter.
“These videos show the Russian Su-27 intercepting the EP-3 from a very close position, at the same altitude, and with an estimated wingtip-to-wingtip horizontal separation as little as five feet at times,” U.S. Navy Capt. Bill Ellis, commander of Task Force 67, said in a statement from U.S. 6th Fleet.
“For the Russian fighter aircraft to fly this close to the U.S. Navy aircraft, especially for extended periods of time, is unsafe. The smallest lapse of focus or error in airmanship by the intercepting aircrew can have disastrous consequences. There is no margin for error and insufficient time or space for our aircrews to take corrective action,” said Ellis.