The pair of Russian Bear Bombers had failed to respond to radio calls as they advanced toward the vicinity of the USS Ronald Reagan, and four F/A-18 Super Hornets were deployed, U.S. Navy officials said. Once under American escort, the Russian bombers skimmed the water at an altitude of 500 feet and came within one nautical mile of the aircraft carrier.
Navy officials said such encounters in that region are not unprecedented, and the intercept and interaction were considered "safe."
Russia has routinely tried to test international boundaries over the past few years by sending warplanes near other countries' airspace — or violating their airspace altogether.
On July 4, the Russians sent planes near Alaska and California, coming perilously close to U.S. airspace without entering it.
In addition, some warplanes were sent to circle U.S. Navy ships in the Black Sea during Russia's takeover of Crimea. U.S. officials have labeled these as "provocative actions."
Alexey Eremenko is a producer in NBC News’ Moscow bureau. He previously worked at Russia's sole English-language daily The Moscow Times and on the English desk of the RIA Novosti newswire. His main beats included politics, space and environment, and he has reported from Afghanistan, Mali, Iran and across Russia.
Jim Miklaszewski is the chief Pentagon correspondent for NBC News. On 9/11, he was the first at the scene to report that the Pentagon had been attacked and has since led the network's coverage of the war in Afghanistan.
Since joining NBC in 1985, Miklaszewski was a White House correspondent during the Clinton and Bush administrations, covering President Clinton's transition from Little Rock, his many trips abroad including Moscow and the Middle East and his reelection. He was also an NBC floor reporter at the Democratic and Republican conventions in 1996 and 2000.
In the Bush White House, Miklaszewski reported on the Gulf War with Iraq, summits with Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin and the Bush reelection campaign in 1992.
Miklaszewski has logged considerable foreign experience with battlefront coverage of wars in Lebanon, El Salvador and the Falkland Islands. He also covered the United States air raid on Libya, and the "tanker wars" in the Persian Gulf.