first published on April 13, 2016 by Will
A Russian Su-24 “Fencer” supersonic, all-weather attack aircraft conducted several simulated attacks against the U.S. Naval destroyer Donald Cook earlier this week. The aggressive passes came within 30 feet of the vessel, and sailors aboard the ship said that the aircraft was so low it created wake in the Baltic Sea.
“This was more aggressive than anything we’ve seen in some time,” said one defense official, according to Military Times. Although the aircraft wasn’t visibly carrying any munitions, simulated attacks violate a 1973 treaty between the U.S. and Russia.
These belligerent actions occurred repeatedly throughout Monday and Tuesday. On monday, the Donald Cook was conducting a NATO flight exercise with a Polish helicopter when a Russian Sukhoi SU-24 made around 20 aggressive passes within a kilometer, forcing the operation to be called off.
Then on Tuesday, a Russian KA-27 Helix helicopter made multiple passes over the ship, and was assumed to be taking photographs of the destroyer. Shortly thereafter is when the extremely close simulated attack runs by the SU-24 took place.
Putin is in no way satisfied with his annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula. In fact, the move may have emboldened him to take more ground, and many believe the most likely targets will include the Baltic states of Latvia and Estonia. The U.S. military and NATO forces have been doing what they can under such a limp administration to bolster our Eastern European allies by conducting regular training rotations with paratroopers and sending more armor and advanced aircraft to the region. However, given the current degraded state of the U.S. and European militaries, any ground Putin takes in a lightening grab would most likely not be returned.