The MiG-31 (NATO code name Foxhound) is a Soviet-design supersonic interceptor, the world’s fastest aircraft in service today. It got to within 15 meters of a US surveillance plane, which was flying in international airspace near the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.
“On April 21, a US Navy P-8 Maritime Patrol reconnaissance aircraft flying a routine mission in international airspace was intercepted by a MiG-31 Russian jet in the vicinity of the Kamchatka Peninsula,” Cmdr. Dave Benham, a spokesman for the Pacific Command, told theWashington Free Beacon.
However, rather than kicking up a fuss, Benham added that the maneuver was carried out in a “safe and professional” manner.
“Intercepts between the United States and other militaries occur often and the vast majority are professional,” he said, speaking to the publication. “For intercepts that are deemed unprofessional, the US takes appropriate measures through military and diplomatic channels.”
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Maj. Gen. Joseph Dunford, said he has contacted his Russian counterpart Gen. Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia three times to warn against possible provocations.
Dunford and Gerasimov had both agreed not to go into details regarding the incident, but Dunford added that the interceptions pose “a risk of miscalculation arguably greater than it was in the Cold War,” the online publication Military stated.
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is a sensitive area for Russia as it hosts one of the country’s most important naval bases, which is home to a large portion of Russia’s Pacific Fleet.
The base also contains the majority of Russia’s missile carrying nuclear submarines, sited on the Pacific coast.