A pair of Russian air-defense fighter jets buzzed a U.S. Navy patrol aircraft over the Mediterranean Sea on Tuesday in what officials called an “unsafe and unprofessional manner.”
The U.S. Navy P-8A Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft was over international waters in the eastern Mediterranean region when it was intercepted by two Russian Su-35 fighters.
For more than an hour, the Russian jets were on each wing of the P-8A patrol aircraft, which is based on the civilian 737 airliner. The dangerous maneuver restricted the patrol aircraft’s ability to operate in a safe manner, Navy officials said.
“The unnecessary actions of the Russian Su-35 pilots were inconsistent with good airmanship and international flight rules, and jeopardized the safety of flight of both aircraft,” Navy officials said.
The incident was the third such close call in the same region since April.
“In all cases, the U.S. aircraft were operating in international airspace, consistent with international law, with due regard for safety of flight, and did not provoke this Russian activity,” Navy officials said.