By Debbie Gregory.
The United States will be filing a formal complaint with the Russian military after an incident between U.S. and Russian aircraft.
On April 7, 2015, a U.S. RC-135U reconnaissance aircraft was operating in international airspace over the Baltic Sea when it was intercepted by a Russian SU-27 Flanker, a fighter aircraft.
According to Pentagon reports, the American RC-135U was flying in a “routine route in international airspace” when it was intercepted by the Russian SU-27, in what the Pentagon claims was an “unsafe and unprofessional manner.” The Pentagon says that the Russian aircraft conducted aggressive maneuvers, in close proximity to the U.S. plane. The Pentagon has not divulged to the media the nature of the operations that the RC-135U was conducting.
Russian reports have claimed that, during the incident, the RC-135U was conducting operations with its transponder turned off, and the jet was circling the reconnaissance plane in order to read its tail numbers. The U.S. military states that these claims are false.
This is not the first time that the Russians have intercepted a U.S. reconnaissance plane. In April, 2014, a Russian jet intercepted a U.S. reconnaissance plane in international airspace and no complaints were filed. The U.S. is taking issue with the 2015 intercept due to the aggressive and unsafe posturing by the Russian pilot during the incident.
Russians have increasingly been on both sides of aerial intercepts with NATO member nations over the last year, coinciding with their conflict with Ukraine.
On April 14, 2015, the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force scrambled its jets to intercept Russian bombers operating near British airspace. The British Defense Ministry claims that RAF jets intercepted more than 100 Russian aircraft over the last year. In that same time, NATO reports claim that there were more than 400 occasions in 2014 when member nation’s aircraft were scrambled due to Russian activity near their airspace.
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Military Connection: U.S. to File Complaint over Russian Jet Incident: By Debbie Gregory