Russian SU-35 makes “unsafe intercept” of US Navy Poseidon over the Mediterranean

US Navy file photo of a P-8A Poseidon flying over the Mediterranean Sea.

A Russian SU-35 fighter jet intercepted a US Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea on June 4.

While the first and third interaction were deemed safe, the US Navy said the second interaction was determined to be unsafe due to the SU-35 conducting a high speed pass directly in front of the mission aircraft.

The crew of the P-8A reported wake turbulence following the second interaction. The duration of the intercept was approximately 28 minutes.

The three intercepts occurred over the course of 175 minutes.

“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,” the navy said.

It was also noted that the Poseidon was operating consistent with international law and “did not provoke this Russian activity”.

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