Russian SU-24 bombers flew over the American destroyer Donald Cook at an altitude of less than 30 feet in what was described as a “simulated attack.” The Daniel Cook was in international waters at the time.
“This was more aggressive than anything we’ve seen in some time,” said a defense official. And it wasn’t the only aggressive move against our Navy by the Russians in recent days.
The maneuver was one of several aggressive moves by Russian aircraft on Monday and Tuesday.
Shortly after leaving the Polish port of Gdynia, near Gdansk, on Monday, the Donald Cook at was sea in international waters conducting flight operations with a Polish helicopter, part of routine joint training exercises with the NATO ally.
During those flight operations, a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 combat aircraft appeared and conducted about 20 overflights, coming within 1,000 yards of the ship at an altitude of about 100 feet, the defense official said. In response, the commander of the Donald Cook suspended flight operations.
On Tuesday, the Donald Cook was underway in the Baltic Sea when a Russian helicopter — a Ka-27 Helix — made seven overflights and appeared to be taking photographs of the U.S. Navy ship, the defense official said.
Shortly after the helicopter left the area, an Su-24 began making “very low” overflights with a “simulated attack profile,” the defense official said. The aircraft made a total of 11 passes.
The ship’s commander repeatedly tried to make radio contact with the Russian aircraft but received no response, the defense official said.
After a formal investigation, the incident may prompt the U.S. government to formally lodge a complaint — or “demarche” — with Moscow, the defense official said.
While Russian aircraft during the past couple of years have conducted numerous aggressive overflights that Navy officials deemed “unprofessional,” the incident on Tuesday was the first to be deemed “unsafe,” the defense official said.
Is it just me and my ignorance or does this commander in chief have to grow a pair? I’m not saying we should start a war. How about lighting these planes up like Christmas trees by locking on our missile systems? They might think twice about buzzing our ships after that.
The “simulated attack” may violate a 1973 treaty with the Soviet Union that bars such maneuvers against our ships. Of course, treaties never stopped Putin before. His violation of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty has elicited little more than a formal protest from the U.S.
It’s no secret Putin has been probing for western weaknesses over the past few years. Crimea, Ukraine, Syria, and now playing dangerous games in the Baltic — it makes you wonder what his intentions are, which is exactly his point.
You have to wonder what the response to a provocation like this would be from any of the major presidential candidates. Somehow, I think it might be a bit more demonstrative than sending the usual “strongly worded letter” to Putin.