A Russian fighter jet came within 20 feet of a U.S. surveillance aircraft over the Black Sea early this week, an official from the U.S. Navy told the Associated Press.
On May 9th, a Russian SU-27 came within almost 5 yards of a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon while the aircraft was conducting routine operations, according to Captain Pamela Kunze.
She added that the incident was considered peaceful and safe by the P-8A’s commander.
20 feet is extremely close, however, and encounters at greater distances have been considered unsafe.
Kunze said the speed, altitude, and visibility of the Russian fighter helped the U.S. pilot remain safe and avoid an incident that could lead to war.
Commanders are given leeway when choosing to allow other aircraft into their airspace, she added.