Four Russian military aircraft conducted low passes against a U.S. destroyer in the Black Sea last week, the first such military provocation since the new Trump administration took office.
The incident took place Feb. 10 and involved the USS Porter, a guided missile destroyer, fending off low flights by what the commander of the ship regarded as potentially dangerous flybys.
“There were several incidents involving multiple Russian aircraft,” said Navy Capt. Danny Hernandez, spokesman for the European Command. “They were assessed by the commanding officer as unsafe and unprofessional.”
The first buzzing involved two Russian Su-24 jet fighters followed by a single Su-24 and, in a third incident, an IL-38 transport aircraft.
The passes were described by Hernandez, the Eucom spokesman, as ranging from unusually low altitude to low altitude and high speed.
“These incidents are always concerning because they could result in miscalculation or accident,” he said.
Miscalculation is a term used often by the military to describe something that could result in an unintended shootout by military forces.
The Russian aircraft operated without their electronic identifying transponders activated. Transponders on aircraft are monitored closely by air defense officers charged with protecting the ship and identifying hostile and friendly aircraft on radar.