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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

Pentagon

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Russian Aircraft Buzz U.S. Navy Ship

September 17, 2010 - 1:44 PM | by: Justin Fishel

WASHINTGON — Two Russian aircraft flew within roughly 100 feet of a U.S. ship in the Arctic’s Barents Sea last week, an unusual move that has caused some concern among officials in the Pentagon.

According to Pentagon Spokesman Col. Dave Lapan, the USS Taylor had just left from a routine port visit in the town of Murmansk when it was buzzed by a Russian maritime patrol aircraft on September 10th, and then buzzed again one day later by a Russian helicopter.  Lapan said incident was surprising partly because the USS Taylor was operating in international waters.  Both aircraft flew as low as 100 feet and got within 50 yards off the deck of the American vessel.

“This is a fairly rare occurrence,” Lapan said. Pentagon officials would not go as far as to call the act dangerous or hostile, but it did get the attention of the military’s Chief  of Naval Operations.  Adm. Gary Roughead spoke about the issue with his Russian counterpart, Adm. Vladimir Vysotskiy, during a preplanned visit to the Pentagon by a Russian military delegation led by Defense Minister, Anatoly Serdyukov.

The visit by the Russians to the Pentagon was the first of its kind in 5 years, and according Pentagon officials it marked an agreement to improve military cooperation between the two countries.

In February of 2008 U.S. fighter planes intercepted two Russian Tupolev “Bear Bombers” flying unusually close to the American aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the Pacific. The Bear Bombers have  also been escorted away from Alaskan airspace by U.S. fighter jets numerous times in recent years.

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