Russian pilots intercepted a US Navy P-8A maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft in an unsafe and unprofessional manner for the third time in two months, the US Navy said.
The latest intercept took place on May 26, as the P-8A aircraft was flying in the Eastern Mediterranean over international waters. The Poseidon was intercepted by two Russian Su-35 aircraft over a period of 65 minutes.
This incident follows two unsafe interactions in April, over the same waters.
According to the US Navy, the intercept was determined to be unsafe and unprofessional due to the Russian pilots taking close station on each wing of the P-8A simultaneously, restricting the P-8A’s ability to safely maneuver.
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, it was said.
“While the Russian aircraft was operating in international airspace, this interaction was irresponsible. We expect them to operate 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). Actions like these increase the potential for midair collisions,” the navy said.