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Additional Video Released of U.S. Navy EP-3 Intercepted in the Black Sea

January 31, 2018 at 3:20 PM UTC
U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa Public Affairs

U.S. Naval Forces Europe/U.S. 6th Fleet released additional video of the unsafe intercept of a U.S. Navy EP-3 Aries aircraft by a Russian Su-27 Flanker that occurred in the Black Sea, Jan. 29, 2018.

The videos show the Russian Su-27 maneuvering around the U.S. Navy EP-3 in close proximity and in varying positions.  

While not shown in the released imagery, during the intercept, the Russian Su-27 executed a hard right-to-left turn from the U.S. EP-3’s right side with an excessive closure rate and came within five feet of the EP-3’s right wingtip. The Russian Su-27 then proceeded to enter the flight path of the U.S. Navy EP-3, crossing within 10 feet and executing a sharp dive below, which resulted in violent turbulence for the U.S. EP-3 and its crewmembers.

“These videos show the Russian Su-27 intercepting the EP-3 from a very close position, at the same altitude, and with an estimated wingtip-to-wingtip horizontal separation as little as five feet at times,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Bill Ellis, commander of Task Force 67.  “For the Russian fighter aircraft to fly this close to the U.S. Navy aircraft, especially for extended periods of time, is unsafe. The smallest lapse of focus or error in airmanship by the intercepting aircrew can have disastrous consequences. There is no margin for error and insufficient time or space for our aircrews to take corrective action,” said Ellis.

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.

U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, headquartered in Naples, Italy, oversees joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, to enable enduring relationships and increase vigilance and resilience in Europe and Africa.

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