Russian pilots tried to “dogfight” US jets over Syria, according to a spokesman for US Central Command, part of a recent pattern of more aggressive behavior.
The attempts have happened in several of the most recent instances of aggressive behavior from Russian pilots, Col. Joe Buccino said.
The Russian pilots do not appear to be trying to shoot down American jets, a US official told CNN, but they may be trying to “provoke” the US and “draw us into an international incident.”
In military aviation, dogfighting is engaging in aerial combat, often at relatively close ranges.
A video released by US Central Command from April 2 shows a Russian SU-35 fighter jet conducting an “unsafe and unprofessional” intercept of a US F-16 fighter jet.
A second video from April 18 shows a Russian fighter that violated coalition airspace and came within 2,000 feet of a US aircraft, a distance a fighter jet can cover in a matter of seconds.
Over the last several years, the US and have used a deconfliction line between the two militaries in Syria to avoid unintentional mistakes or encounters that can inadvertently lead to escalation.
US officials have reached out to their Russian counterparts over the recent incidents, and the Russians have responded, the official said, but “never in a way that acknowledges the incident.” [Continue reading…]