WASHINGTON – On July 21, the U.S. military accused a Venezuelan SU-30MK2 Flanker of ‘aggressively’ shadowing a U.S. Navy EP-3E Aries II at an unsafe distance in international airspace over the Caribbean Sea on July 19, jeopardizing the crew and aircraft, a fresh sign of growing hostility between the two countries.
The EP-3 aircraft, flying a mission in approved international airspace was approached in an unprofessional manner by the SU-30s that took off from an airfield 200 miles east of Caracas.
The U.S. routinely conducts multi-nationally recognized and approved detection and monitoring missions in the region to ensure the safety and security of our citizens and those of our partners.
The encounter between the two planes occurred on Friday July 19, the same day that the Trump administration announced it was imposing sanctions on four top officials in Venezuela’s military counterintelligence agency.
At 11.33 A.M. Local Time a Venezuelan AF Su-30 intercepted the aircraft and it was escorted out of Venezuela’s airspace, the U.S. military stated on Sunday July 21.
The U.S. military had determined the “Russian-made fighter aggressively shadowed the EP-3 at an unsafe distance in international airspace for a prolonged period of time, endangering the safety of the crew and jeopardizing the EP-3 mission.”
The two planes did not collide and no one was hurt in the incident.
Lockheed EP-3E ARIES II
The Lockheed EP-3 is the signals reconnaissance version of the P-3 Orion, operated by the United States Navy. The aircraft is known by the acronym ARIES, or “Airborne Reconnaissance Integrated Electronic System”.
(Image from U.S. Navy video)