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Russian SU-35 in “unsafe intercept” of US Poseidon MPA over the Med, again

Russian SU-35 approaches US Navy Poseidon P-8A

A Russian SU-35 has carried out an another “unsafe” intercept a US P-8A maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, the US Navy said.

On April 19, 2020, a US Navy P-8A aircraft flying in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea was intercepted twice by a Russian SU-35 over a period of 100 minutes.

The first intercept was deemed safe and professional. The second intercept was determined to be unsafe and unprofessional due to the SU-35 a conducting high-speed, high-powered maneuver that decreased aircraft separation to within 25 feet, directly in front of the P-8A, exposing the US aircraft to wake turbulence and jet exhaust.

“In response, the P-8A, which was operating at a constant altitude and airspeed, descended to create separation and ensure safety of both aircraft,” the navy sattement said.

“While the Russian aircraft was operating in 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.”

This incident follows the April 15, 2020 interaction over the same waters, where a Russian SU-35 flew inverted within 25 ft. of the US P-8A.

The Russian intercepts were not the only trouble experienced by US Navy assets in recent days.