Annoying

The Russian flights within 30 feet of the US Destroyer were indeed threatening, but as retired Captain Rick Hoffman said, “”You don’t get to kill people just because they’re being annoying,”
That is because Commanding Officers of modern US warships are actually Coxswains of motor boats. That is to say, they actually have no say .

Each warship has a seldom used radio communication directly to the White House, and the CO cannot make a “weapons free” command without a direct authorization. The days when the British could direct a Honk Kong submarine to “Proceed to the vicinity of Hainan Island, and operate in the best interest of Her Majesty the Queen.”

Today, the US Navy ship has direct radio, TV and radar contact with the White House and the Pentagon. A decision to prosecute an attack on incoming Russian jets was made above the level of the Commanding Officer of the Aegis destroyer who was buzzed. That CO was not involved in making the decision.

This was a fairly easy decision. The incoming Russian jets have HUGE radar profiles, so the destroyer was tracking them more than 100 miles away, and the destroyer would know if the Russian jet had armed it’s missiles, and could shoot down the Russian jets before the jet was within a dangerous envelope. 

Analysis of Russian jets show that the best of the fighter jets of the opposing forces (F–and Su35) shows that the Russian Su-35 has a radar reflection of an office desk, the American F-22 has a reflection of a marble.

This difference between the stealth capabilities of the two countries gives the US superiority, and the Aegis radar capabilities are enormous. It was obvious to all parties to the buzzing that Russia was being obnoxious, not dangerous. 

It was a stage play for home consumption.

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