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USS Donald Cook Targeted
By Harold Hutchison
A Russian jet repeatedly buzzed the destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75), which was operating in the Black Sea over this past weekend. The incident occurred around the time that violent clashes broke out in the eastern portion of the Ukraine.
Su-24 Fencer (DOD illustration)
According to media reports, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer was buzzed multiple times by the jet, which was identified in one report as a Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer. According to the American Forces Press Service, the Fencer was unarmed, but made a dozen passes over an hour and a half, flying within 1,000 yards of the ship at about 500 feet above sea level. A second Fencer was also on the scene, but did not participate in the attack.
USS Donald Cook (DDG 75). (DOD photo)
The Fencer is roughly comparable to the retired F-111 Aardvark. It is capable of carrying a number of air-to-surface ordnance, including the Kh-23 (AS-7 Kerry), Kh-28 (AS-9 Kyle), Kh-58 (AS-11 Kilter), and the Kh-59 (AS-13 Kingbolt/AS-18 Kazoo) missiles, as well as bombs and rocker pods, with R-60 (AA-8 Aphid) missiles for self-defense. The Fencer has been exported to countries like Iran, Libya, Angola, Sudan and Syria.

Defense officials noted that the Donald Cook, which has one five-inch gun, as well as a 29-cell Mk 41 VLS, a 61-cell Mk 41 VLS, eight Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and two Mk 15 Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems, can more than take care of itself against a pair of Fencers. The destroyer can carry RIM-66C SM-2, RIM-161 SM-3, RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles, BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles, and RUM-139 Vertical-Launch ASROCs in the cells of the Mk 41 VLS.