The US military accused a Russian fighter jet of putting the crew of a US Navy surveillance plane at risk while performing a high-speed inverted maneuver in front of the US aircraft during an “unsafe” intercept Wednesday over the Mediterranean Sea.
The interception, which lasted about 42 minutes, occurred Wednesday in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea, the Navy’s 6th Fleet said in a statement.
The military said that a U.S. P-8A Poseidon was intercepted by the Russian aircraft, which was considered “unsafe” because the SU-35 conducted “a high-speed, inverted maneuver” just 25 feet in front of the mission aircraft.
The Navy said the U.S. aircraft did not provoke the Russians and was operating lawfully prior to the interception.
“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,” the statement read.
“Unsafe actions increase the risk of miscalculation and potential for midair collisions,” it continued.
The incident happened the same day as about a dozen Iranian naval vessels aggressively approached a group of United States Navy forces in the Arabian Gulf.
The US has in the past accused Russia of similar such unsafe intercepts of US surveillance aircraft, including over the Mediterranean Sea, but there has been a relative decline in recent years.
A similar incident occurred in June which saw a Russian fighter jet intercept an American P-8 multiple times.