Russian Su-24 Fencers Buzz US Navy Destroyer in the Baltic Sea

160412-N-ZZ999-007 BALTIC SEA (April 12, 2016) (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

US Department of Defense officials have just released a series of videos and a statement on Russian Sukhoi Su-24 Fencers executing close-proximity passes near the USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) in the Baltic Sea, soon after the Cook left the Polish port city of Gdynia. The Cook is currently on a scheduled patrol in the US Navy’s 6th Fleet’s area of responsibility.

Two Fencers can be seen in the above vide, passing close to the Cook, both directly across the ship’s path, and behind the vessel as well. Another video (DSC 0015) shows a Fencer coming even closer to the Cook than in other passes. The aircraft were flying at altitudes estimated at or below 100 feet, and within the envelope of 1000 feet of the Cook. The Su-24 has served with the Russian Air Force (formerly the Soviet Air Force) since the early 1970s, and can be configured to fly maritime strike and anti-shipping operations.

Just a day after the Cook was buzzed by these Fencers, a pair of Russian Kamov Ka-27 Helix helicopters flew close to the stern of the ship for an extended period of time before (presumably) returning to base. U.S. European Command was quoted as saying, in an official statement: “We have deep concerns about the unsafe and unprofessional Russian flight maneuvers. These actions have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries, and could result in a miscalculation or accident that could cause serious injury or death.”

This is not the first time the Cook has experienced such an incident. In 2014, the vessel was also buzzed no less than 12 times by another Russian Air Force Su-24 Fencer detached from a two-ship flight. In that instance, the Fencer did not come more than a few thousand feet from the Cook, which was operating in the Black Sea at the time.


160412-N-ZZ999-008 BALTIC SEA (April 12, 2016) A Russian Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft makes a very low altitude pass by USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) April 12, 2016. Donald Cook, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer forward deployed to Rota, Spain, is conducting a routine patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

About Ian D'Costa (240 Articles)
Ian is the editor-in-chief of the Tactical Air Network. His work has been republished and quoted in a number of publications, including The Toronto Star, Airsoc, Business Insider and The Aviationist. You can reach him at

6 Comments on Russian Su-24 Fencers Buzz US Navy Destroyer in the Baltic Sea

  1. Mike Solon USAF Ret. // April 13, 2016 at 19:00 // Reply

    And why did they not at least missile lock on to him to warn him off?

    If returned after a missile lock the next would have been a launch and splashed that bogy !

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think a lock, these days, would be construed as an escalation of aggression. Even having the CIWS released and allowing fire control to train it on the bogey is also a no-go.


  2. reece.azzopardi // April 13, 2016 at 19:42 // Reply

    Its likely if they locked on to the Su24 the Su24s would’ve retaliated and caused a lot of damage as the Su24s are maratime strike capable. And the outcome would be increased hostilities between the Russian Federation and the United States of America (At the boiling point if anyone is injured or killed or the ship is crippled)


  3. iron city // April 14, 2016 at 16:08 // Reply

    I’m sure there will be opportunities but doubt USN aircraft will engage in this stupid flathatting. People loose their wings over stuff like this in professional Navys.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So old…Cy-24…


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