Thursday, March 06, 2008

Russian bomber buzzes US carrier - again


For the second time in less than a month, a Russian bomber flew over the aircraft carrier "U.S.S. Nimitz" on March 5, news agencies reported. The plane was then intercepted by U.S. F/A-18 jet fighters, which escorted it out of the area off the Korean coast, news agencies reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," February 1 and 13, 2008). Reuters quoted unnamed U.S. military officials in Washington as saying that they do not consider the plane, which flew 610 meters above the ship, "a threat or concern." Following the previous such incident, some U.S. officials on a panel of experts argued that the Russian action was legal and "normal." Most of the experts agreed, however, that it is "not a good idea" to buzz an aircraft carrier. The Russian daily "Komsomolskaya pravda" wrote on February 13 that such incidents can often lead to unforeseen consequences, even if the pilot's actions are in keeping with accepted international practice. In Moscow on March 6, Air Force Colonel General Yury Solovyov, who is in charge of the capital's air defenses, said that those aircraft will be "modernized" by 2011 so that "they will remain technically and tactically superior to NATO planes," Interfax reported. PM

See also: Russian bomber buzzes U.S. carrier
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