The State Department says the incident occurred Monday when a Russian Su-27 jet crossed directly in front of the flight path of the American jet in global airspace.
The interaction lasted approximately two hours and 40 minutes, according to a statement from the Navy's 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy.
According to the news release, the U.S. Navy aircraft was operating in accordance with global law.
An AP report observed that the United States has raised concerns several times over the past year about midair encounters between US and Russian planes, including encounters above the Black Sea and Baltic Sea.
The American pilots reported that the Russian jet came within 5 feet of the United States plane, according to two of the officials. Both sides denied breaking rules during the encounter, which occurred in worldwide airspace.
The EP-3 Aries series of planes, the Navy's only land-based reconnaissance aircraft, uses a wide range of equipment to detect electronic transmission from deep within targeted territories, allowing it to pick up signals intelligence far inland even when it is flying offshore, according to U.S. Naval Air Systems Command. "We call on Russian Federation to cease these unsafe actions that increase the..." The US department furnished a statement charging the Russians of glaringly breaching prevailing agreements and global law. Moscow has announced that a U.S. intelligence aircraft has flown near the border and was only escorted by a Russian fighter.
A Russian jet intercepted a US spy plane over worldwide airspace over the Black Sea on Monday, though Moscow disputed the Pentagon's characterization of the engagement as "unsafe". She called it "the latest example of Russian military activities disregarding global norms and agreements".
It said that the behaviour of its pilots was not in any way "non-standard" and that their actions were an attempt to "stop [the U.S. plane] from violating the Russian Federation's airspace". Fighter intercepts are just one aspect of military posturing on both sides of the global diplomatic conflict resulting from Russia's military annexation of Crimea in 2014. Later, the Russian Ministry of Defense denied that there had been risky maneuvers by their plane. "Independent thinking is not one of them", he said. The Russian jet had come within five feet of the Navy flight, CNN reported, quoting unidentified Pentagon officials.