The Pentagon has blasted the “unsafe and unprofessional” actions of a pair of Russian pilots who flew within 100ft of a US Air Force bomber.
A nail-biting video shows the Russian jets slice through the air in a daredevil intercept with a US B-52 above the Black Sea and in international waters on August 28.
In the clip, a Su-27 zooms alongside a B-52’s left-wing then veers up and right across its path in a scary move.
Later in the same clip, the dangerous stunt is pulled again but at very close range – with a screenshot showing just how tight it is.
The manoeuvre is known unofficially as “thumping” and is when a fighter jet darts just in front of a larger and slower plane – usually surveillance or a bomber – so its jet wash disrupts the airflow around it.
Condemning the actions of the Russian pilot, the Pentagon claimed the Su-27 darted so close to the bomber the resultant turbulence restricted its ability to manoeuvre.
In a statement with the video, the Pentagon said: “At approximately 11.19am on August 28, 2020, two Russian Su-27 Flanker pilots intercepted a US Air Force B-52 bomber that was conducting routine operations in the black sea over international waters.
“The Russian pilots flew in an unsafe and unprofessional manner while crossing within 100ft of the nose of the B-52 multiple times at co-altitude and while in afterburner causing turbulence and restricting the B-52’s ability to manoeuvre.
“The B-52 Stratofortress aircraft was conducting routine operations in international airspace exercising our freedom of navigation and overflight.
“The U.S. Air Force routinely operates aircraft in the region in accordance with recognised international safety standards as prescribed in International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) rules of flight.”