Close Call: U.S. Plane, Russian Jet Nearly Collide Over Pacific

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A U.S. Air Force plane flying over the Pacific in April was intercepted by a Russian jet that came dangerously close to the American aircraft, defense officials confirmed to NBC News.

The Air Force RC-135U was flying in international airspace about 60 miles off the Russian Far East coast, north of Japan, on April 23 when a Russian SU-27 Flanker flew within 100 feet of the nose of the plane. The Flanker maneuvered itself so it exposed its belly, presumably to indicate that it was armed.

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There was no radio communication between the planes.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Steven Warren said the interception happened as the RC-135U was conducting a routine surveillance mission over the Sea of Okhotsk, reported The Washington Times.

“The SU-27 approached the RC-135U and crossed the nose of the U.S. aircraft within approximately 100 feet,” Warren said in a statement. “Senior department leaders have communicated our concerns directly to the Russian military.”

There is no word on whether there has been a response from the Russians.

The aerial encounter came two days after Japanese warplanes intercepted two Russian military aircraft anti-submarine patrols near the Japanese island of Hokkaido, the Washington Times said.

— Courtney Kube and Elizabeth Chuck