A Russian MiG-31 jet flew within 50 feet of a U.S. surveillance aircraft in Northeast Asia last week, Moscow’s latest aerial saber-rattling against American ships and planes, according to defense officials.
“On April 21, a U.S. Navy P-8 Maritime Patrol reconnaissance aircraft flying a routine mission in international airspace was intercepted by a MiG-31 Russian jet in the vicinity of the Kamchatka Peninsula,” Cmdr. Dave Benham, a spokesman for the Pacific Command, told the Washington Free Beacon.
Benham said the intercept was “characterized as safe and professional.”
“Intercepts between the United States and other militaries occur often and the vast majority are professional,” he noted. “For intercepts that are deemed unprofessional, the U.S. takes appropriate measures through military and diplomatic channels.”
A defense official familiar with the MiG-31 intercept said the jet flew within 50 feet of the P-8, a maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft.
The incident took place near the Russian city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, a port located on the southeastern end of the peninsula.