Russian taunting leads to another barrel roll over US recon plane

Any doubts that Russia's aggressive and dangerous actions in challenging American reconnaissance planes in the Baltic Sea was the work of a rogue Tom Cruise wannabe have been laid to rest as another incident occurred on Friday involving an SU-27.

On April 17, a Russian fighter jet performed a barrel roll over a US reconnaissance plane in the Baltic. Russia justified the manuever by claiming the US plane was close to Russian airspace. It wasn't.

Then on Friday, another incident occurred as a Russian fighter performed another barrel roll over an RC-135 recon plane. When the Pentagon expressed outrage at the incident, the Russian defense ministry taunted the US military.

New York Post:

Outraged defence officials called the interception manoeuvre "unsafe and unprofessional", but Russia said it was forced to intercept the American RC-135 plane because it had switched off its identifying transponder.

The Pentagon admitted the barrel roll incident could "escalate tensions" between the countries after a number of close-flying encounters.

In a taunting statement the Russian defence ministry said: "We are already starting to get used to the insults of the Pentagon regarding alleged 'unprofessional' manoeuvres when our fighters intercept US spy planes at the Russian border.

"The US Air Force has two solutions - either not to fly near our borders, or to turn the transponder on for identification."

Reports differed on just how close the Russian SU-27 Flanker fighter jet came to its lumbering quarry. US Army spokeswoman Lt Col Michelle Baldanza said it came within 25 feet, or 7.6m, while others claimed a figure of 100 feet, or 30 metres.

Lt Col Baldanza told CNN: "The SU-27 intercepted the U.S. aircraft flying a routine route at high rate of speed from the side then proceeded to perform an aggressive maneuver that posed a threat to the safety of the U.S. aircrew in the RC-135."

It's obvious that showing up the American military has become Russian policy, probably ordered from the top. And yes, it makes Obama look weak and indecisive. Perhaps we should start escorting our spy planes with our own fighters - give the Russians something to think about. But that would be an escalation of a situation growing more tense all the time. 

Besides, the poiint is, we shouldn't have to protect our recon planes in international waters. Russian harassment is bothersome, but not necessarily warlike. So unless we want to ratchet up tensions in the Baltic by becoming more aggressive ourselves, our hands are pretty much tied.

 

Any doubts that Russia's aggressive and dangerous actions in challenging American reconnaissance planes in the Baltic Sea was the work of a rogue Tom Cruise wannabe have been laid to rest as another incident occurred on Friday involving an SU-27.

On April 17, a Russian fighter jet performed a barrel roll over a US reconnaissance plane in the Baltic. Russia justified the manuever by claiming the US plane was close to Russian airspace. It wasn't.

Then on Friday, another incident occurred as a Russian fighter performed another barrel roll over an RC-135 recon plane. When the Pentagon expressed outrage at the incident, the Russian defense ministry taunted the US military.

New York Post:

Outraged defence officials called the interception manoeuvre "unsafe and unprofessional", but Russia said it was forced to intercept the American RC-135 plane because it had switched off its identifying transponder.

The Pentagon admitted the barrel roll incident could "escalate tensions" between the countries after a number of close-flying encounters.

In a taunting statement the Russian defence ministry said: "We are already starting to get used to the insults of the Pentagon regarding alleged 'unprofessional' manoeuvres when our fighters intercept US spy planes at the Russian border.

"The US Air Force has two solutions - either not to fly near our borders, or to turn the transponder on for identification."

Reports differed on just how close the Russian SU-27 Flanker fighter jet came to its lumbering quarry. US Army spokeswoman Lt Col Michelle Baldanza said it came within 25 feet, or 7.6m, while others claimed a figure of 100 feet, or 30 metres.

Lt Col Baldanza told CNN: "The SU-27 intercepted the U.S. aircraft flying a routine route at high rate of speed from the side then proceeded to perform an aggressive maneuver that posed a threat to the safety of the U.S. aircrew in the RC-135."

It's obvious that showing up the American military has become Russian policy, probably ordered from the top. And yes, it makes Obama look weak and indecisive. Perhaps we should start escorting our spy planes with our own fighters - give the Russians something to think about. But that would be an escalation of a situation growing more tense all the time. 

Besides, the poiint is, we shouldn't have to protect our recon planes in international waters. Russian harassment is bothersome, but not necessarily warlike. So unless we want to ratchet up tensions in the Baltic by becoming more aggressive ourselves, our hands are pretty much tied.