Yesterday Vladimir Putin pulled off the stunt-of-the-year when two Russian SU-24 jets buzzed the USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea. It was like a real-life scene from Top Gun, except much more menacing given the World War III undertones. A Department of Defense official called the aggressive maneuver a “stimulated attack” given that the plane came within 30 feet of the ship.
So why did the U.S. Navy not just shoot the planes down, just like the keyboard commanders in the Facebook comment section said they should? Allow the USS Donald Cook’s Captain Rick Hoffman to explain. Via the Navy Times:
“Well, we’re not at war with Russia,” Capt. Rick Hoffman said. “It would be one thing to be operating and have a threatening attack profile from someone who might not recognize me — that’s not the case here.”
If you have visual identification of the jet, can see it isn’t carrying weapons, and don’t detect any electronic emissions suggesting there was a missile lock on the ship, there’s nothing to be done.
“You don’t get to kill people just because they’re being annoying,” said Hoffman, who commanded frigate DeWert and cruiser Hue City. Cruisers are the fleet’s foremost air defense platform and are tasked with guarding flattops from incoming threats.
Capt. Hoffman than added some sass:
“Only in ‘Top Gun’ does a war suddenly break out between two airplanes that is completely not related to something going on ashore,” he said.
So there you go — the jets weren’t armed in the fly-by. Regardless, it’s a brazen stunt by Vlad on a U.S. ship. He’s whipping Russia’s big old dick around pretty hard right now:
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