The US Air Force has released video footage of two two Russian Su-27 Flanker pilots intercepting a B-52 bomber over the Black Sea on August 28.
The service said that the actions of Russian pilots over international waters were “unsafe and unprofessional”.
The video shows the Flankers crossing within 100 feet of the nose of the B-52 multiple times at co-altitude and while in afterburner causing turbulence and restricting the B-52’s ability to maneuver.
“Actions like these increase the potential for midair collisions, are unnecessary, and inconsistent with good airmanship and international flight rules,” said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa commander. “While the Russian aircraft were operating in international airspace, they jeopardized the safety of flight of the aircraft involved. We expect them to operate within international standards set to ensure safety and prevent accidents,” he added.
The air force said the B-52 Stratofortress aircraft was conducting routine operations in international airspace exercising freedom of navigation and overflight.
Russian fighter pilots regularly challenge US pilots in the region and have made several intercepts of US Navy P-8A Poseidons this year alone. In addition to these interactions, Russian jets also buzz US warships operating in the waters of the Black and Baltic Seas. One of the more notable ones includes the 2016 Baltic Sea interaction between USS Donald Cook and two Russian Su-24 jets making several low-altitude passes.