Armed F/A-18 jets launched to intercept Russian planes, the Navy says
Russian planes did not respond to U.S. ship, were about a mile away from USS Ronald Reagan
U.S. ships were in exercises with South Korean navy
The U.S. Navy launched four armed fighter jets to intercept two Russian Tu-142 Bear aircraft that were flying near the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in the Pacific Ocean, the Navy said Thursday.
The four F/A-18 fighter jets were sent as “standard operating procedure” to escort planes flying near Navy ships, according to a Navy statement.
The Russian aircraft came within one nautical mile and were flying at 500 feet in altitude while the 100,000-ton warship was participating in a bilateral training exercise with South Korea on Tuesday.
The Navy said a ship escorting the Reagan during exercises near the Korean Peninsula hailed the Russian planes but did not get a response.
“It is standard operating procedure for U.S. planes to escort aircraft flying in the vicinity of U.S. Navy ships,” Navy Cmdr. William J. Marks said in an email. “This type of interaction is not unprecedented. Overall I would characterize the interaction as safe.”
Tuesday’s encounter with the two Russian Tu-142s, naval reconnaissance versions of the Russian Tu-95 Bear bombers, was first reported by the military newspaper Stars and Stripes.
A U.S. ship followed the Russian planes as they moved away from the Reagan, according to the Stripes report.
In a separate release, the Navy identified the ships involved in the exercises as the guided missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville and the guided-missile destroyers USS Mustin, USS Fitzgerald and USS Curtis Wilbur.