Aboard a US military aircraft (AFP) - A Russian fighter flew dangerously close to a US warplane over eastern Syria, US defence officials said Friday, highlighting the risks of a serious mishap in the increasingly crowded airspace.
The "near miss" occurred late on October 17, when a Russian jet that was escorting a larger spy plane manoeuvred near an American warplane, Air Force Lieutenant General Jeff Harrigian said.
The Russian jet came to "inside of half a mile" of the US jet, he added.
Another US military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the American pilot was buffeted by the turbulence from the Russian jet's engines.
"It was close enough you could feel the jet wash of the plane passing by," the official said.
It appeared the Russian pilot had simply not seen the US jet -- either on radar or visually. It was dark and the planes were flying without lights.
"I would attribute it to not having the necessary situational awareness given all those (planes) operating together," Harrigian said.
The incident raises serious questions about the extent to which pilots can track the complex airspace they operate in. (Read More)