If you have visual identification of the jet, can see it isn't carrying weapons, and don't detect any electronic emissions suggesting there was a missile lock
on the ship, there's nothing to be done.
the rules of engagement allow the CO to take defensive action if they feel they safety of their vessel is in danger, according to U.S. European Command spokesman Capt. Danny Hernandez told Navy Times. In this case the CO did not feel threatened, he added.
put the CO in charge of how to respond.
"You don’t get to kill people just because they’re being annoying," said Hoffman, who commanded frigate DeWert and cruiser Hue City. Cruisers are the fleet's foremost air defense platform and are tasked with guarding flattops from incoming threats.
There's a possibility that the
However, the defense official said, the
might violate a 1973 treaty between the U.S. and Russia that deals with this behavior
, and might prompt the U.S. to file a formal complaint with the country
Otherwise, Hoffman added, it just amounts to showboating.
"Only in 'Top Gun' does a war suddenly break out between two airplanes that is completely not related to something going on ashore," he said.
To be sure,
On the other hand,
the rules might be different in another situation.
Russia is still an ally and
The Baltic Sea is not a contested area of responsibility.
"We would probably not have accepted that from an Iranian aircraft in the Persian Gulf, although we’ve seen it," Hoffman said.
Or if it had been a civilian aircraft, he added, the CO would have been
more on guard for a potential suicide mission. But the likelihood that a rogue Russian pilot would take a shot at an American ship and then try to fly home through the airspace of multiple NATO partners is very low.
It's more likely that the stunt will end up as a public relations tool for Russian President Vladimir Putin, showing force against the Americans operating in his backyard.
"It would be real interesting to see what shows up in the Russian papers in the morning, how they play it," Hoffman said. "It's not that different from North Korea. He does something and then he plays it domestically however he needs to play it for the purposes of getting his people energized."
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members. Follow on Twitter @Meghann_MT