Home » Aviation » VIDEO: Navy Says Russian Su-27 Intercepts U.S. EP-3 Over Black Sea in ‘Unsafe’ Maneuver


VIDEO: Navy Says Russian Su-27 Intercepts U.S. EP-3 Over Black Sea in ‘Unsafe’ Maneuver

Screen capture from video of a Su-27 conducting an unsafe intercept of a Navy EP-3E Aries II over the Black Sea on Nov. 5, 2018, US Navy Image

A Russian Su-27 intercepted a U.S. EP-3 Aries II aircraft flying in international airspace over the Black Sea today, the Navy announced.

The Russian fighter conducted a high-speed pass directly in front of the EP-3 and then chased after it a second time, in what the U.S. Navy called an unsafe interaction.

“A U.S. EP-3 Aries aircraft flying in international airspace over the Black Sea was intercepted by a Russian Su-27. This interaction was determined to be unsafe due to the SU-27 conducting a high speed pass directly in front of the mission aircraft, which put our pilots and crew at risk,” according to a Navy news release.
“The intercepting Su-27 made an additional pass, closing with the EP-3 and applying its afterburner while conducting a banking turn away. The crew of the EP-3 reported turbulence following the first interaction, and vibrations from the second. The duration of the intercept was approximately 25 minutes.”

The Navy release added that, “while the Russian military is within its right to exercise within international airspace, this interaction was irresponsible. We expect them to behave within international standards set to ensure safety and to prevent incidents, including the 1972 Agreement for the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas (INCSEA). Unsafe actions‎ increase the risk of miscalculation and potential for midair collisions.”

The Navy added that its aircraft was operating in accordance with international law and that a forthcoming video would show that.

A U.S. Navy EP-3E Aries II maritime patrol aircraft. US Navy Photo

This is not the first time a Russian fighter has intercepted a Navy aircraft in international airspace in the Black Sea.

On Jan. 29, an SU-27 cut in front of an EP-3 within five feet of the aircraft, causing the U.S. plane to fly through the jet wash.

On Nov. 25, 2017, a Russian SU-30 fighter intercepted a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft over the Black Sea.

The following is the full statement from U.S. 6th Fleet and U.S. Naval Forces Europe

On Nov. 5, 2018, a U.S. EP-3 Aries aircraft flying in international airspace over the Black Sea was intercepted by a Russian SU-27. This interaction was determined to be unsafe due to the SU-27 conducting a high speed pass directly in front of the mission aircraft, which put our pilots and crew at risk. The intercepting SU-27 made an additional pass, closing with the EP-3 and applying its afterburner while conducting a banking turn away. The crew of the EP-3 reported turbulence following the first interaction, and vibrations from the second. The duration of the intercept was approximately 25 minutes.

While the Russian military is within its right to exercise within international airspace, this interaction was irresponsible. We expect them to behave within international standards set to ensure safety and to prevent incidents, including the 1972 Agreement for the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas (INCSEA). Unsafe actions‎ increase the risk of miscalculation and potential for midair collisions.

The U.S. aircraft was operating in accordance with international law and did not provoke this Russian activity. The video will be forthcoming.

  • Leroy

    SOP for Russia. We should treat their aircraft the same way during our intercepts.

    INCSEA. Just another Agreement/Treaty that Russia violates as if it didn’t exist. Russia has never followed their legal obligations under any accord. Any! NBC – they violate them all.

  • thebard3

    Our F-14s used to do that to the Bear Deltas on a regular basis. I assume we still do now, only with F18s instead.

    • DaSaint

      I bet you’re right.

    • Ed L

      I think there was an ROE back then that our fighters could only approach within 500 feet if the other aircraft knew you were there. And the approach had to be subtle. Of course there was rumor that some the subtle approaches were a little on the fast side

      • thebard3

        I can’t post pictures here but you only have to ‘google’ to find 100’s of pictures showing aircraft that don’t look like they are anywhere near 500′ apart. If a russian pilot complained publicly, our pilots would probably get a high five from CAG.

        • Ed L

          Within 500 feet and once the Other Aircraft was aware then our planes would go in for a handshake. I seen nice photos taken by the 57th Out of Iceland of the Tail gunner or pilot. Being able to count the rivets on the Bears was pretty cool Just no dangerous maneuvers.

          • thebard3

            I am obviously not a pilot, so I don’t know what goes on up there, but here’s what I know
            1- Bomber detected at blanking range of search radar, on direct course for carrier group.
            2- Alert 5 aircraft dispatched.
            3- Alert 5 aircraft return. Bomber has exited airspace.
            How do you get a large bomber to modify it’s heading if all you do is fly next to it?

          • Oskar

            Hand signals.

            A burst of cannon tracer rounds usually got Ivan’s attention, also.

            You know, there are ROE’s for ADIZ intercepts, right?

    • Oskar

      Yeah, NO….

      Western intercepts were done in a safe, professional manner.

      Got any photos to refute that?

  • RunningBear

    Question, how long does an AB work without a generator?

    Just a blip of EA and a momentary loss of all systems in the SU-27!

    Respect can be learned.

    IMHO
    Fly Navy
    😀

  • Chesapeakeguy

    Gee, big surprise..

  • b2

    Nice, now RTB vodka-land! Looks cool, especially on EO/IR . Yep, even for a dam rooskie…

    What’s the ROE here? Reported on USNI like a Russian sub was detected in San Fran Bay opening torpedo doors! This is ridiculous…of course we are going to be intercepted flying over their backyard.
    iIhope our F-22/F-15/16/18s are doing their “thumping” best manuevers on intercepts, too.

    IF this was technically unlawful warranting immediate press release, as per the INCSEA, please point out the verbiage in the agreement to this Cold War era relic used to this once routine “behavior”… How about USNI checking on the same?

  • b2

    Unsafe Duane? I find it hard to disagree. But realize unsafe is in the eyes and ROE of the observer and of course any P-3 dude/dudette doesnt like anyone flying form on them…even when they expect it. On the other hand, escorting someone limited to 15-30 degree max turns, 300 kts and 2 gs is sort of boring.

    IMO, this break right, w/burner, was not really unsafe..I hate to defend any actions ANY Russian does but this was just a “disengagement with emphasis”. At least by 1986 standards..Surprised he had any fuel left to do it..

    re- “Unsafe actions‎ increase the risk of miscalculation and potential for midair collisions.

    The U.S. aircraft was operating in accordance with international law and did not provoke this Russian activity. The video will be forthcoming.”

    No one can argue with that logic if loose parade is an objective criteria. Other “video”? Maybe that will change my mind. Did the Rooskie give the EP-3 a “pressed ham” view,? LOL

    I make no excuse for any evil Cossack Russian enemy but there it is from what I saw.. Instead the meme seems to be- lets just jump right into a Cold War and not pussyfoot to bullding a legal case……Perhaps that Is that where this is going and USNI news is just helping? I can accept that I suppose.

    • CharleyA

      I believe this video shows 11 seconds of a roughly 25 minute encounter.

      • b2

        CA,
        I understand, and that seems to be addressed in the USN statement: “…The video will be forthcoming.” That alludes to perhaps there were other unsafe actions.

        I am no apologist for any Russian pilots action. Also, I have no reason to doubt the US Navy report, I take it as it was written. However, we warriors from a different era have a different prespective based on our experiences in a real Cold War we “fought” with this Rooskies pilot’s forebearers, the Soviets.

  • thebard3

    I said “Our F-14s used to do that to the Bear Deltas on a regular basis. I assume we still do now, only with F18s instead”.

    • Ed L

      Don’t forget the F-4’s and F-15’s of our Valiant Airforce

      • Rocco

        & Navy!!… F-4’S

    • Rocco

      Don’t listen to his BS !!

      • thebard3

        Careful, you’ll be getting blocked!

        • Rocco

          Heh I’ve already have been!!

  • thebard3

    You are the one who quotes all kinds of ‘facts and figures’. What’s the SOP for how to divert a Bear Delta using tactical fighters so they don’t overfly your carrier group?

  • thebard3

    So you don’t really know, then?

    • Rocco

      He’s a has been sub guy!!

  • CAPT ALOHA

    I really cannot add anything “meaningful” to this semi-advanced discussion on air-intercepts and sea-lawyer opinion, other than to say we did the same thing in the ’60s-’70s ALL THE TIME. And we looked forward to it. I’ve several great pictures “up close and personal” exchanging Hawaiian Good Luck signs with Crazy Ivan while he motored along in his Bears and Badgers …

    But ROE intercepts in general? The only way we could have truly “stopped” an overflight on the carrier was to shoot the intruder down … and that wasn’t gonna’ happen given the circumstances extant back “in-the-day” or today, barring something really radical happening.

    My only take on this is that the AB bank away and departure was probably “unnecessary” and a little “excessive” … but was it unsafe? Probably not … but does it make Ivan an a-hole?

    Probably.

    I wonder if Ivan thought I (read: “we”) were a-holes … ??

    I truly hope so … (insert smile here)

    • Rocco

      Back in the day we didn’t get the aggressive balls flybys like today as they would of been shot out of the sky!!

  • Marcd30319

    Why is Duane under moderation? Yes, he is a rabid never-Trumper but really?

    • Rocco

      He’s an Idiot !! & Any one that he has conflicts with he deletes !!

      • Marcd30319

        Same goes with .Hugo. I suppose.

        • Rocco

          Agreed

    • vetww2

      I agree with you. Although, I often find him off the point, sometimes, what he says is correct. I, generally don’t like censorship’ Just look at the “social” media.

    • Oskar

      He’s a troll.

    • NavySubNuke

      Duane likes to flag the posts of anyone he doesn’t agree with as spam. When he does it to me I always flag his back. Others seem to have adopted the same strategy.

      • Marcd30319

        Same goes with .Hugo. definitely.

  • Marcd30319

    Beyond the territorial waters of the countries that border it, the Black Sea is considered international waters, or more precisely, the high seas which is open for all nations to operate their ships and aircraft,
    even military ones. The US has every right to operate its military aircraft in international airspace without harassment and unprofessional conduct.

    The 1972 Agreement on the Prevention of Incidents at Sea clearly spells out how Soviet and US warships and aircraft are to interact in order to avoid collisions or unwanted incidents. David F. Winkler wrote an excellent book on this subject and it is available through the Naval Institute Press.

    That said, the behavior of the Russian S-27 is a highly provocative and inexcusable, with its closeness to our EP-3, the lack of radio contact, and going to afterburners at breakaway. This behavior is reckless and dangerous and will get people killed if not stopped.

  • Jack D Ripper

    tail gunner should have given ivan a burst

    • Rocco

      With what???!!!!

    • Oskar

      What tail gunner?

  • Centaurus

    Iv’an never known any Russian pilot that could fly straight. They’re all on Vodka.
    When do “the bombs start to fall in 5 minutes” ? For this russian atrocity? Do we get to drop on Chelyabinsk ?

  • RDF

    EP-3 dont do anything suddenly except file perdiem expense requests.

  • Marcd30319

    Wish I could up-vote more than once your comments here.

  • Marcd30319

    But typical. I just blocked the varmint and moved on.

  • NavySubNuke

    It wouldn’t surprise me — I imagine they get purged pretty quickly and new ones just fill the seat until the next crackdown fills up the detention camp.

    • Marcd30319

      Looks like .Hugo. is flagging some of your comments and mine.

      • NavySubNuke

        Shocking… I wish people who were blocked were prevented from flagging comments. Would help solve my Duane problem.

        • Marcd30319

          The easiest and most transparent solution would be to restrict access to news blog message boards to bona fide USNI members.

      • .Hugo.

        maybe you are the one doing all that instead? not surprising…. 😛

    • .Hugo.

      detention camps like guantanamo bay and other u.s. secret prisons like the ones in thailand? sure…. 🙂

      • NavySubNuke

        Awww you aren’t quite a funny as the last Hugo but you are getting there..

        • .Hugo.

          see? you can answer that, again…. 🙂
          .

  • .Hugo.

    spectacular maneuver….
    .
    ….of the russians. 🙂

  • .Hugo.

    thanks for admitting it now, you are the one. 😛