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Russia’s ‘High-Velocity Confrontations’ Create Risks for U.S. Pilots

Air Force Times reports that “when U.S. reconnaissance planes, operating in international airspace, venture near Russia’s borders, it scrambles its warplanes to intercept the aircraft. But too often, that has led to Russian pilots executing aggressive maneuvers that are both reckless and dangerous, according to U.S. officials.”  

“Six months into 2016, Russian Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker fighters have buzzed, barrel rolled or skirted by U.S. aircraft at least three times. And the provocative maneuvers are not limited to U.S. aircraft.”  

“Twice in April, Russian Su-24 Fencer attack aircraft flew extremely low and close by the destroyer Donald Cook in the international waters of the Baltic Sea, actions which the U.S. Navy concluded were provocative, but nonthreatening. In recent years, since Russia’s 2014 incursion into Ukraine dramatically escalated tensions across Europe, Russian warplanes have also aggressively intercepted the aircraft of U.S. allies in Europe, and even civilian passenger planes.”

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