Two Russian bombers did a close flyby of the USS Ronald Reagan, and received a welcoming committee from the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier:
The four F/A-18 fighter jets were sent as “standard operating procedure” to escort planes flying near Navy ships, according to a Navy statement.
The Russian aircraft came within one nautical mile and were flying at 500 feet in altitude while the 100,000-ton warship was participating in a bilateral training exercise with South Korea on Tuesday.
The Navy said a ship escorting the Reagan during exercises near the Korean Peninsula hailed the Russian planes but did not get a response.
“It is standard operating procedure for U.S. planes to escort aircraft flying in the vicinity of U.S. Navy ships,” Navy Cmdr. William J. Marks said in an email. “This type of interaction is not unprecedented. Overall I would characterize the interaction as safe.”
I’d rather we had commanders with the balls to say something along the lines of, “This type of interaction is inherently dangerous to those bombers. You just never know what’s going to happen up there if my aviators think their ship is threatened.”