The Russian SU-27 approached alongside within 25 feet of the U.S. aircraft and then flew inverted over the top of the plane to the other side, Lt. Col. Michelle L. Baldanza, a U.S. Army spokesperson, said in a statement.
“The SU-27 intercepted the U.S. aircraft flying a routine route at high rate of speed from the side then proceeded to perform an aggressive maneuver that posed a threat to the safety of the U.S. aircrew in the RC-135,” Baldanza said.
The U.S. considers this a very unsafe aerial maneuver and is expected to voice its concerns to the Russians, a U.S. defense official told CNN.
This is the second barrel roll maneuver over a U.S. aircraft by the Russians this month. On April 14, a Russian jet “performed erratic and aggressive maneuvers”
as it flew within 50 feet of a U.S. aircraft’s wing tip, Danny Hernandez, a spokesman for U.S. European Command, said in a response to a question from CNN.
In that incident, an RC-135 aircraft also was intercepted by a Russian SU-27. The Russian SU-27 began the barrel roll from the left side of the U.S. RC-135 and went over the top of it to end on the right side of the aircraft, U.S. European Command said.