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Russian jet nearly collides with US surveillance aircraft in ‘reckless’ intercept in Asia

A Russian Su-27 jet flew dangerously close to a U.S. reconnaissance plane over the Pacific northeast recently in an aerial clash not seen since the Cold War.

An Air Force RC-135 electronic intelligence jet was flying a surveillance run some 60 miles off the Russian Far East coast, north of Japan, on April 23 when the incident occurred, according to defense officials familiar with the incident.

The Su-27 flew to follow the RC-135, and at one point rolled sideways to reveal its air-to-air missile before flying within 100 feet of the cockpit in an attempt to unnerve the crew.

The showdown was video-recorded by the aircrew.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Steven Warren said the Su-27 intercepted the RC-135U as it conducted a routine surveillance mission in international airspace over the Sea of Okhotsk during the afternoon of April 23.

“The Su-27 approached the RC-135U  and crossed the nose of the U.S. aircraft within approximately 100 feet,” Warren told the Free Beacon in a brief statement. “Senior department leaders have communicated our concerns directly to the Russian military.”

A defense official said the incident was a “reckless intercept” and one of the most dangerous aerial encounters for a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft since the Cold War.

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