U.S. aircraft diverted to avoid Russian fighter
The U.S. military has had to divert two aircraft over Syria to
ensure they could maintain a safe flying distance from a
Russian fighter aircraft in the same area, according to
Captain Jeff Davis, Pentagon spokesman.
It was the first time the U.S. needed to do so since Russia
began military operations in Syria at the end of last month.
The two planes were F-16s that had departed from Turkey’s
Incirlik air base and were on their way to a location near the
ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, , a senior defense official told
CNN. The U.S. aircraft that diverted were not able to
complete their mission, the official said.
pilots have been under orders to change their flight path if
there is a Russian plane within 20 nautical miles, according
to the official.
Davis said the incident happened in the last few days but
offered few additional details.
“We are taking action to ensure” the planes don’t come too
close to each other, he said, indicating there had only been
one incident so far. There is no sign the two aircraft
communicated with each other.
In the recent incident, the Russian plane came within the 20
nautical mile interval. The new U.S.
specifically because there is no agreement with the
Russians yet on maintaining mutual flight safety rules and
practices. In fact, the incident happened in the days after
the first round of technical talks with Russia on that issue.
Without that agreement, the official said, U.S. pilots cannot
count on the Russians to fly under standard safety
The official emphasized the reason for the new rules is
concern about keeping American pilots safe, given the long
history of aggressive Russian military intercepts against