US military official confirmed a Russian SU-24 has made multiple, close-range passes near the USS Donald Cook (DDG-75), an Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer equipped with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System. “This provocative and unprofessional Russian action is inconsistent with international protocols and previous agreements of a professional interaction between our militaries,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said.
In fact, the Russian fighter jets flew within 900 meters of the destroyer at about 500 feet above AMSL. The captain of the Donald Cook issued several radios warning to the fighter jet. A total of 12 passes over the course of 90 minutes were made. A second SU-24 was in the area but did not do any close-range provocative passes. Fortunately, the Russian jets appeared to be unarmed and the passes concluded without any major incidents. The USS Donald Cook is presently operating in international waters east of the Romanian coast. The destroyer arrived in the area on April 10th to reassure NATO allies after Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
The SU-24 is a long-range strike/attack aircraft and not specifically a fighter jet as most of other media called it. It can carry various type of armaments.