US spy plane intercepted by Russian supersonic jet
Iran Press TV
Thu Apr 28, 2016 5:33PM
A Russian supersonic jet has intercepted a US spy aircraft over Russia's Far East, flying within several feet of it, a senior US military official says.
"On April 21, a US Navy P-8 Maritime Patrol reconnaissance aircraft flying a routine mission in international airspace was intercepted by a MiG-31 Russian jet in the vicinity of the Kamchatka Peninsula," the Washington Free Beacon quoted Commander Dave Benham, a spokesman for the US Pacific Command, as saying on Thursday.
The soviet-era Mig-31, which is known as the world's fastest supersonic jet, flew within 50 feet of the P-8, performing maneuvers that Benham said were "safe and professional."
"For intercepts that are deemed unprofessional, the US takes appropriate measures through military and diplomatic channels," the commander added.
The encounter took place near the Russian city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, a port located on the southeastern end of the peninsula.
The incident occurred days after a US Air Force RC-135 spy plane was intercepted by a Russian Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jet over the Baltic Sea, in a way that was described by US military officials as "unsafe and unprofessional."
Tensions between Russian and American military forces surged earlier this month after two Russian Sukhoi Su-24 warplanes performed "simulated attack" passes over the USS Donald Cook destroyer in the Baltic Sea.
Describing the move as one of the most aggressive acts in recent memory, American officials said the Russian bombers were flying so close that caused "wakes in the water."
US Secretary of State John Kerry dubbed the behavior of the Su-24 pilots as "reckless" and "provocative," saying that the US had every right to shoot the plane down.
However, the Russian Defense Ministry rejected Kerry's claims, saying that the plane was flying over neutral waters and all the international regulations on the use of the neutral airspace had been met.
"While in operational proximity to the Russian naval base of the Baltic Fleet, the principle of freedom of navigation of the US destroyer does not negate the principle of freedom of aeronautics of Russian aircraft," Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov explained.
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