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Russian Air Force aircraft drop in uninvited on the USS Donald Cook

15 April 2016
160412-N-ZZ999-003 BALTIC SEA (April 12, 2016) A Russian Kamov KA-27 HELIX helicopter flies low-level passes near the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) while the ship was operating in international waters April 12, 2016. Donald Cook is forward deployed to Rota, Spain, and is conducting routine patrols in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Russian Kamov Ka 27 “Helix” helicopter flying low-level passes near the USS Donald Cook (DDG 75)—U.S. Navy photo

12 April 2016: Russian aircraft fly past the USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) playing a dangerous game of maritime brinksmanship. A Kamov Ka 27 “Helix” flew close passes and a pair of Sukhoi Su 24 “Fencer” attack aircraft buzzed the ship as well while she was sailing in international waters on the Baltic Sea. Hardly a surprise since they were on the ship’s radar once within 100 miles.

160412-N-ZZ999-005 BALTIC SEA (April 12, 2016) A Russian Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft makes a low altitude pass by USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) April 12, 2016. Donald Cook, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer forward deployed to Rota, Spain, is conducting a routine patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

One of the two Russian Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft begins its buzz of the USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) going low and going fast—U.S. Navy photo

160412-N-ZZ999-008 BALTIC SEA (April 12, 2016) A Russian Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft makes a very low altitude pass by USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) April 12, 2016. Donald Cook, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer forward deployed to Rota, Spain, is conducting a routine patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

One of the two Russian Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft buzzing the forward deck of the USS Donald Cook (DDG 75)—U.S. Navy photo

160412-N-ZZ999-004 BALTIC SEA (April 12, 2016) Two Russian Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft fly over USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) April 12, 2016. Donald Cook, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer forward deployed to Rota, Spain, is conducting a routine patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

The pair of Russian Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft departing after buzzing the USS Donald Cook (DDG 75)—U.S. Navy photo

 

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. 15 April 2016 01:05

    Thank goodness there were professionals on both sides of the encounter. Obviously, the destroyer could have taken all the aircraft down with any of their formidable array of defensive weapons. In fact, those SU-27s passed well within range of the Phalanx, which is one scary piece of hardware. And the jets could have fired some kind of missiles that could have messed up a lot of sailor’s underwear.

    The close pass is well within the skill set of a good pilot, and I am sure the weapons officer and skipper of the Donald Cook took that into consideration. Often a close pass looks closer than it really is.

    However, this MiG-23 really does push it a little too much. The cameraman was lucky to avoid decapitation.

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      15 April 2016 08:53

      Agreed. More to the point–my experience is the media reports more to the sensational than the entire context. “Boys with toys” doesn’t sell as well as “Surprise attack!”–with the result that the general public isn’t aware of the incredible capability the military has. Military capability is usually understated in the media except when new weapons contracts are in the offing–then they are really understated.

      I think that close pass was from video still. If I’m right then the jet may have been even closer. I’m sure they felt the heat from the exhaust as well as the air being pushed ahead of the jet. Damn exciting. But I’d be behind some of the ship’s metal all the same.

      • 15 April 2016 11:02

        Some reports said about 30 feet separation. Maybe, maybe not. As I said, airplanes always seem to look closer than they really are.

        I once got a call complaining about how low I was flying over my house one afternoon. It was my routine to let my wife know I was returning from out of town trips by flying over the house at a very legal 1,500 feet and unsyncing the props on the Skymaster for a moment. Probably didn’t need to do that, since a Cessna 337 does not sound like any other airplane in existence anyway, but hearing the beat frequency of out of sync props meant she didn’t have to go to the window to see if it was me. At any rate, one of the neighbors insisted I was buzzing the neighborhood at “treetop height.”

        Having said that, the Libyan MiG-23 in that little video probably was lower than ten feet. Have to give the photographer bravery credits for not face planting as it went over.

      • travelforaircraft permalink*
        17 April 2016 22:29

        If you type in “Skymaster” into the search window you’ll get a handful of posts which have Skymaster images 🙂

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      20 April 2016 22:35

      Super writing 🙂

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