The USS Ronald Reagan scrambled its fighter jets earlier this week after two Russian naval reconnaissance aircraft flew within one nautical mile of the U.S. aircraft carrier as it sailed in international waters east of the Korean Peninsula, according to 7th Fleet officials.
In the latest in a series of incidents involving Russian aircraft, two Tupolev Tu-142 Bear aircraft flew as low as 500 feet Tuesday morning near the Reagan, which has been conducting scheduled maneuvers with South Korean navy ships. Four F/A-18 Super Hornets took off from the Reagan’s flight deck in response to the Russian advance, 7th Fleet spokeswoman Lt. Lauren Cole said Thursday.
U.S. officials attempted to contact the Russian aircraft but received no radio response. A U.S. ship escorting the Ronald Reagan followed the Russian aircraft as they withdrew, Navy officials said.
Press officials at the Russian Embassy in Seoul were not immediately available for comment Thursday.
On multiple occasions in the past year, Russian aircraft have tested international boundaries by either violating other countries’ airspace or engaging in what Pentagon officials have called “provocative” actions toward U.S. and NATO ships.
When we look back at this point in history, we will wonder how we could have been so blind.