USS Porter Buzzed by Russian Planes in Black Sea



I cross-posted this to Daily Kos earlier today. This is the first time the Russians have flown close aboard a US Navy ship since tRump has taken office. In this case, the flights included four aircraft. The first buzzing involved two Russian Su-24 jet fighters followed by a single Su-24 and, in a third incident, an IL-38 transport aircraft.

At least one Fencer came within 200 yards of the ship, flying at 300 feet at more than 500 knots, a defense official told USNI News on Tuesday.

None of the aircraft responded to radio queries from Porter and had their transponders turned off, a violation of international laws.

The flybys were much less provocative than when USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) was buzzed by a pair of Fencers in the Baltic Sea last April.

One of the passes, which occurred while the allied helicopter was refueling on the deck of Donald Cook, was deemed unsafe by the ship’s commanding officer. As a safety precaution, flight operations were suspended until the SU-24s departed the


Two Russian Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft make a low altitude pass by the USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) April 12, 2016. US Navy Photo

The following day, a pair of KA27 Kamov Helix helicopters orbited the ship taking photos in what officials called a “simulated attack profile” in several press reports.


KA-27 Helicopter near DDG-75                      US Navy photo

Putin continues playing hard ball against his good friends in his back yard. Is the President willing to step up to the plate against Putin? Putin certainly is willing to pitch, but is the President willing to catch? He better keep his football handy, that is if he can find it……

About Terry Welshans

I grew up in Burbank, California. My dad worked at a company that made sub assemblies for about every airplane made in the 1960-1970 era, so it was only natural that the aviation bug bit me while I was quite young. I hold a commercial pilot certificate and fly as much as I can. I live in Bardstown, Kentucky with my wife, moving here after we retired. I am a Vietnam veteran and a cancer survivor. I like to keep politicians honest, and do so when they open an avenue where I feel they have erred.
This entry was posted in Aviation, Breaking News, Russia, United States, USN. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to USS Porter Buzzed by Russian Planes in Black Sea

  1. This is some scary shit. Putin knows his boys in the WH are not going to do anything. *45 has not even written a “strongly worded letter.” No, he is too busy tweeting about how mean TV comedians are. Meanwhile, it is a dangerous game of chicken on the high seas.

    Of course, the Russians know our surface ships have powerful defensive capability, and in a genuine General Quarters situation, could take out those aircraft easily. Also, if it were actual combat, the Russian pilots would know better than to buzz a ship that is bristling with automated Gatling guns and SAMs. Thankfully, the skippers of those vessels are cool headed and don’t open fire. That would be very bad indeed.

    The thing we have to count on, is that those Russian pilots are professionals and highly skilled. They may make high speed low passes, but they are not going to hit the ship. In the meantime, our side has unskilled amateurs running the show at the top.

    • Terry Welshans says:

      True enough. We have done our share of low passes against Russian ships as well, and have done so, even closer, to our own ships. I have no doubt the Russian pilots are as skilled as our own, and although risky, it is an impressive show of airmanship.

      As a side note, I have a naval simulator on my PC that is used by the US Naval Institute for desk-top wargaming. It has very accurate profiles of all military equipment that includes performance simulations based on observed flight characteristics. I have played both blue (NATO) and red (Warsaw/Russian) sides. The SU-24 is almost defenseless against any AAM and is easy to shoot down with any ship-board SAM. They do, however, carry some potent medium-range anti-ship missiles of ARM/HE types. They are fast, but with speed comes a reduction in range.

  2. bigfatmike says:

    “our side has unskilled amateurs running the show at the top.”

    Unskilled amateurs who apparently are not going to respond with so much as a diplomatic letter. Maybe they think this was just a cheerful greeting.

    Are the voters getting any of this or are they just contemplating their next shopping trip to Nordstom’s.

  3. Terry Welshans says:

    You want a buzz job?

    Check out this video of a DC-10 fire tanker:

  4. ann summers says:

    SOP … Russians doing a solid for Lord Dampnut by wagging a dog … the next step is Albanians or something more serious …

  5. pete says:

    With the Il-38 and the two helo’s Id say they were looking more for something under the surface than on top. The Su-24 is mostly a workhorse fighter bomber and not that great at either role but I would be curious as to exactly what those are attached to the underside.

    Also I don’t know where the Donald Cook is and as I recall the Admiral Kuznetzov is on station out the somewhere.

    Too many ships and too little water and things rub together.

    • Terry Welshans says:

      And that makes sparks!

      The things under the wings are fuel tanks IMHO. They do not have flying surfaces except stabilizing fins at the rear, I don’t see any wings or surfaces folded into the body. The tail does not have a nozzle and there does not seem to be any attached engine nacelles. There is no precision guidance head fitted to the nose.

      Take a look at for details of current Russian equipment.

      • Terry Welshans says:

        Here is a clear picture of an SU-24 with similar equipment as shown in the first picture of the post.

        Sukhoi 24 in flight
        Attribution: Wikimedia Creative Commons
        By Alexander Mishin –

      • The purpose of stabilizing fins is to keep them flying straight when dropped. Less chance of them flipping up and over the wing or into the tail. There have been incidents where a drop tank took off the entire wing of another airplane flying alongside in close formation.

        • pete says:

          That would be a tough explanation about what happened to that $30m aircraft you left the base with.

          • Terry Welshans says:

            Most of the Su-24M (‘Fencer-D’) models carry Kh-29 air to ground missiles with at best a 30 mile range, similar to our AGM-65 Mavericks. They have a variety of aiming systems including TV, Laser, GPS versions. Newest ones are “fire & forget” so the carrier aircraft can turn away from the target. 8 hardpoints can cary up to 17,640 lb of ordnance. The Su-24 uses 2 × R-60 or R-60MK R-60 (NATO:AA-8 ‘Aphid’) air-to-air missiles for self-defense; Upgraded aircraft can carry R-73E (NATO:AA-11 ‘Archer’) missiles as well. Thes AAMs have about half the range of a US made sidewinder. It is like bringing a knife to a gunfight.

  6. pete says:

    That brings me back to the question of where was the Cook when she got the flyover. The reason I ask that is I don’t know if the US or any other NATO countries acknowledge Russian sovereignty in Crimea. The SU-24’s with drop tanks are one thing but those helo’s don’t have much for range.

    But the important thing is has trump tweeted anything about it yet?

    • Terry Welshans says:

      Lots of disagreement over international waters verses claimed airspace. Claims of two hundred miles are not recognized by the US in many cases. Our own ADIZ extends out quite a ways and we intercept anyone doing a flyby or escort. There is a Russian AG about 30 miles off the Virginia/Georga coast right now heading in a generally southerly course.

      In yesterday’s “News Speech” tRump was asked if he would respond to the flyovers. His non-answer was that he would not make any public comments on the subject. It seems his tweets are in time-out mode from time to time, and those that are out seem to come in two flavors; Some are semi-coherent and from staff members who have control of his device while others are the typical rants.

  7. When these games of chicken are playing out, the sailors, officers and airmen all need to keep in mind just who and what is in charge of the nuclear codes. Be very, very careful. Don’t let some butterbar slip up and do something dumb. This moment in time was captured for posterity. It is from the press conference yesterday:

    • Terry Welshans says:

      Bad things, even worse than nuclear weapons…..

    • pete says:

      He thinks nuclear weapons are made out of uranium. And put Rick Perry in charge of them. And when Rick took the job he didn’t know that he would be in charge of them.

      Butterbars always screw-up. It’s in the job description.

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