Russian Planes Overfly US Carrier

By Lindsey Ellerson

Mar 19, 2009 6:33pm

ABC News’ Luis Martinez reports: A Defense official confirms that twice this week several Russian aircraft overflew the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis and another US Navy vessel that were participating in military exercises in international waters off the coast of South Korea.  The fly-over incidents occurred earlier this week in the Sea of Japan about 80 nautical miles off the coast of Pohan, South Korea. On Monday, March 16 two Russian Ilyushin IL-38 "May" maritime patrol aircraft overflew the USS Stennis by an altitude of 500 feet. On Tuesday, March 17, two Russian "Bear" long range bombers overflew the USS Stennis and the flagship USS Blue Ridge multiple times at an altitude of 2,000 feet. Both times the approaching aircrafts were intercepted by Navy F/A-18 fighters at a range of 70 nautical miles.  The fighters then escorted the planes until they departed the area.  The Stennis and the other ships that make up its carrier strike group are participating in the joint US -South Korean military exercise called "Foal Eagle" that has drawn the ire of North Korea. 

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