Numerous incidents of encounters with Russian and American planes and ships seem to have come to an end. At least there are signs that the top military-political leadership of the country has given the Armed forces a direct indication of more to prevent incidents like the famous case of flying by the American destroyer “Donald cook”. Why was this decision made?
Made on Friday the statement of the Kremlin about Vladimir Putin refers to incidents between Russian and NATO aircraft and ships, is so curious, that require special consideration.
“If the Supreme commander had now really harshly to stop such manoeuvres by the Russian air force, it does not mean some kind of “retreat” or the infamous Internet “putinslil”
Recall, the press Secretary of the President Dmitry Peskov neither confirmed nor denied information that the Russian leader allegedly “snubbed” the party meeting for “confrontational” word on the incident in the Black sea, reports RIA “Novosti”. According to him, Vladimir Putin is not a supporter of the tension of the international situation and advocated adherence to international law, to avoid dangerous incidents.
“Closed meetings are conducted in order and to where it was possible to exchange views on the most pressing issues, so I can neither confirm nor deny this information,” – said Peskov. And neoproverjimye looks like a clear signal to the military. According to Bloomberg, Putin has called the “high risk” incident, when Russian military aircraft flew close to an American ship in the Black sea. During the meeting, according to the Agency, some participants said that the Americans “deserved it”. In response, Putin asked: “are You crazy?”
We are talking about the Russian overflights of marine and coastal aviation American warships in the Black sea and the Baltic sea, primarily on two cases with long-suffering destroyer “Donald cook”, which caused emergency response. The American side has accused Moscow of violating the provisions of international law of the sea, and in the Russian Internet came a wave of jingoistic emotions. Then, in the spring of 2016, the Kremlin’s position, voiced by Dmitry Peskov, was much more categorical. Dmitry Peskov then said that he was “inclined moment to stand up for clarification, which was provided by representatives of the Ministry of defense.” Despite the overall similar tone, then it looked like a support action marine pilots, the current comments seriously change the overall background.
International Maritime law is one of the oldest legal systems regulating the legal relations, including between the military fleets of non-belligerent States. But it is precisely because of its antiquity it constantly there gaps you want to fill in the course of development of technical means and the changing international environment. While the military component is regulated by the civil legislation, except in cases of open hostilities.
But since 1939, humanity does not remember the “official announcement” of the war one state to another, when sent an official note through diplomatic channels, sent embassies and countries are very gentleman “coming to you”. Even the Argentine-British war in 1982 over the Falklands in fact, were undeclared, and the legal regime of the sea was regulated very questionable unilateral acts. For example, London just announced dvuhsotmilnuyu zone around the Islands “war zone” and “recommended” by the foreign vessels not go there. All this did not prevent the British submarine “Conqueror” to sink the Argentine cruiser “General Belgrano” outside dvuhsotmilnuyu zone, citing the “appropriate moment” and “a danger to the British fleet.” Killed 323 Argentine sailors is about half of all Argentine casualties of the war. In fact, the very announcement of this dvuhsotmilnuyu zone was a violation of international legal standards of warfare at sea, and the sinking of the General Belgrano, the only one in the history of the nuclear attack submarine surface ship and not a war crime. But Argentina was denied in an international court for “lapse of time”.
The result is the current law of the sea constantly subject to adjustments, mainly through bilateral or multilateral agreements that are supposed to be perceived as a precedent, on the basis of the Anglo-Saxon interpretation, but ignored by those countries that these documents are not signed. The Soviet Union in the 70’s and early 80-ies (and these documents are still in force, pervoprestolnoy Russia Soviet international agreements) with the United States, Britain, Germany, Italy, France, Canada and Greece (the latter not here to be witty, and as one of the largest owners of merchant fleet in the world) “on the prevention of incidents beyond territorial waters”. These agreements require military ships of the parties in all cases to be at a sufficient distance from each other to avoid the risk of collisions, they require military ships and aircraft to undertake simulations of attacks, or simulations of the use of weapons, not to carry out maneuvers in areas of intensive navigation, and to prevent some other action that could lead to the occurrence of incidents at sea and airspace above it.
The key phrase in that document: “at a sufficient distance”. In the contracts (at least in their public articles) do not contain concrete distance in miles and altitude in meters, which already are not sufficient. Article IV of the Agreement between the USSR and the USA on the prevention of incidents at sea and airspace above it reads: “the commanders of the crews of each of the Parties should exercise the greatest caution and prudence in approaching aircraft of the other Party operating in the open sea, and the ships of the other Party operating in the high seas, in particular ships engaged in the issue or acceptance of aircraft, and in the interest of mutual safety shall not permit: simulated attacks by the simulated use of weapons by aircraft, any ships, perform various aerobatic figures over the ships and drop them close to different objects so that they posed a danger to ships or interference with navigation”.
In parenthesis I should add that in the most important document for Soviet military pilots – Guidance for military service have been prescribed specific value, the nearer of which was forbidden to approach the NATO ships, how to remove and height.
Maritime law is largely based on common sense, unlike, say, tax. The captain and the commander of the crew of the aircraft, the idea is that he needs to understand what “enough” to “avoid collisions”, and what not, that is, according to the agreement, to “exercise the greatest caution and prudence.” But the rejection of the “imitation of attacks, or simulating the use of weapons” – the concept is quite specific.
The American side just accused the Russian air force “simulated attacks” and John Kerry after the second incident with the same “Donald cook” (in the Baltic sea – an unhappy ship) suddenly talking about “rules of engagement”, although no war in the Baltic sea no. “We condemn such behavior. This is reckless, provocative, dangerous. In accordance with the rules of warfare they (Russian planes) could be brought down,” said Kerry, adding that the United States will not allow you to “scare you in the open sea”, and recalled that the Russian side has conveyed the US position regarding the danger of such actions. The Russian side in the face of anonymous sources in the army and the Navy appealed to the pseudo-Patriotic sentiments: “there is nothing here to swim”, “stay at home”, “drove our city”.
But the story overflights of Western warships that has not ceased to be very practical and legal, though, and threatened to escalate into ideological campaign. The Internet began jingoistic wave. Some coaches even craftsmen ordered the Moscow mint a commemorative token of the “Lessons of peace” with a picture of the su-24 flying over an American destroyer, with the words: “dangerous, but disarmed,” which sell on the Internet for 1000. At the Mint you can order any badge, it’s not against the law, but to the official registry of government awards, he will not belong and with Premium Department MO this initiative has nothing to do.
But one thing “divan” reaction, and the other – when these actions were at the level of emotions supported by the part of senior officers of the land of origin. A former senior officer of the Russian air force, had direct relevance to naval aviation, commented the newspaper VIEW the possible reaction of the President like this. If our pilots not only comply with international rules of overflight of foreign warships, exposing themselves to danger, and even boast of this, that close to disaster. Under international law Americans have every right to shoot down these cowboys. People will die, and the situation escalated to the limit. To get out of the situation are not the commanders, and the diplomats and politicians. And how events will unfold after this incident, God knows. And the fact that the Americans are violating all the agreements on the law of the sea, no one to worry not. Fault in a particular episode will definitely be the Russian side, and in an environment where decisions are made very quickly, on the emotions and can sink this “Donald cook” coast funds, noting two death two hundred. And there to world war close.
As said the newspaper VIEW that a senior officer, when one of the ground commanders reported on the recklessness of the pilots of the Baltic sea, he actually authorized it on emotions: like, well done, drive them further. With international law of the sea and the details of such action, the tank does not have to be a sign that does not exempt him from liability if something goes wrong. And this is not a textbook conflict between infantry and aircraft, and attack jingoism, crossed the line.
Talk about the feasibility of such shares. If anyone has forgotten, not in 1941 to live, and the long bomber is not required to be directly over the enemy ship. Tactical launch anti-ship missiles is conducted with a distance from tens to hundreds of kilometers from the destination. Imitation tactical strike – a constant element of training coastal on all fleets. Moreover, such training can be carried out even without the suspension of missile electronics allows you to track data of simulation start-up. And the Black and Baltic sea – pools, there’s even a massive use of aircraft is required of a modern system of coastal defense.
“To develop methods of attack” by forces of “crackers” is at least strange. Attempt, as in the Second world war, to attack the rocket class destroyer “Arleigh Burke” with free fall bombs and guns is an amazing idea. In a combat situation a single plane shot down immediately, he can not in principle be any serious threat. And the stories about the fact that the electronic system “Donald cook” was allegedly suppressed Russian electronic warfare (specifically the “Khibiny”), originally did not hold up to scrutiny. “Khibiny” was created exclusively for su-34 and avionics of the su-24 is incompatible. Jamming is not “quench” the radar and not make a plane invisible, but rather to the contrary demonstrates his presence.
Leafless Donald cook “dry” engaged in the exploration, not imitation strike. Such a combat mission, they seem to give, but that’s another story. On the one hand, it kind of brings them under the provisions of international agreements on the avoidance of a simulated attack, but “sums” under another article: “the execution of aerobatic figures over the ship” that is no better and from liability does not relieve.
In the old days of recklessness sea scouts were partly related to the imperfection of the equipment. This exploration on one of the aviation forums very vividly described former military pilot of the Baltic fleet, flying just on the su-24, Igor follows: “intelligence Chief Colonel Egoshin (gave the order)… You scout, you give me a photo of their new weapons bring, otherwise what you scout. After such instructions and the words “I believe in you” the reverse will start to fly… so be wise, if the Colonel Egoshin was ordered to steal from them new air defense system. And he did it!” In Soviet times, shooting in General, produced almost a two-handed cameras by pilots, and this technique required the approximation of the minimum distance, because the authorities demanded big plans, instead of vague outlines of something unidentified. But if there came a note of protest about the “dangerous approach”, then the picture is calculated real distance shots, and the pilot mercilessly chastised and even removed from office.
But the availability of modern technology intelligence anything like that from pilots today requires. That is, in fact, all such overflights by Russian aircraft NATO ships are reduced to recklessness, the bravado and the emotional heat created by misunderstood ultrapatriotism. Pilots themselves don’t understand where the line of “aggression”, and in our circumstances it is difficult to blame for it. And if we trace the history of such tragic episodes of the sea since the Soviet era, they all were involved with it on something similar. And when this nervous atmosphere accelerates even from the command, or just emotions, or the ultimate requirements of the results at any cost, it only gets worse.
A very typical story happened in may 1968. The exercises came a large group of us ships led by the aircraft carrier “Essex”. By tradition, all the movement of big aircraft carriers should have been tracked by aircraft of the Northern fleet. But the group of the Essex was in the Norwegian sea, that is far from the usual areas of security. Toward an American carrier battle group left the destroyer “guarding”, to restore which was the aircraft of the Northern fleet. But on may 25, they lost an aircraft carrier group, has not fulfilled its combat mission that threatened trouble. The commander of the aircraft fleet required to find urgently an aircraft carrier.
To organise a search party could not all because it needed to refuel in the air (the Norwegian sea did not have area for the Soviet aircraft, but the command required to detect the carrier even outside the area of responsibility), and in the late 60’s it could block crews. The first of them came back with nothing, and complete the task undertaken directly by the squadron commander Lieutenant Colonel naval aviation Alexander Pliev, who was at this moment on vacation, but couldn’t get away from Severomorsk at home.
A native of the village Vakhtana South Ossetia Alexander Z. Pliev was famous for risky maneuvers. First flight altitudes that justified departure from enemy radar. According to eyewitnesses, on return to base, his aircraft often were visible white stains from salt water. In those days radar was a low-power, and tactics of ultra-low flying was not perfected. So that the experiments Pliev was “innovation” and tacitly encouraged by the command of naval aviation, though violated all instructions.
The crew Pliev (and the second Tu-16 commanded by Popov) quickly found the “Essex”. According to the now Vice Admiral and then commander of the destroyer “guarding” Dimova, he had a few hours to get the coordinates of the aircraft carrier group and went to the rapprochement. After that, from “deuce” Pliev nothing more was required. He had to turn around and go to base, but suddenly gave the order leading crew Popova to climb to a higher altitude – and he began the rapprochement with the “Essex,” under the radar. Colonel Pliev has decided to make his discovery of the American aircraft carrier group demonstrative, although such a task before him was not delivered.
Huge 35-metre bomber sweeps over the deck of an aircraft carrier at a speed of 500 km/h at an altitude of about 15 meters (the Americans capture it on videotape). Further, according to the American version, when you exit the maneuver the Tu-16 touches the water wing and falls into the sea. The crew Plieva – seven people are killed on the spot. Later appeared a version that the bomber could be shot down by air defense of one of the escort ships of the Essex, which either reinsured, whether they have nerves passed. But then the commander of the regiment, a reconnaissance aircraft of the Northern fleet Dudarenko and his fellow soldiers testified: “A. Z. Pliev was undoubtedly good, even very good pilot. But, unfortunately, prone to recklessness… Flying at extremely low altitudes – for scouts business as usual. But Pliev had their own “handwriting” – unreasonably long flights at low altitudes, demanding great effort from the pilot.” “The most harmful is the rate of change of the height they were not varied, although at the turn of the aircraft is required to gain a little bit of height, to roll not to catch a wing on the water. Sooner or later, the slightest mistake could lead to death. And she led”. The wreckage of the Tu-16 lying on the inaccessible depths, and finally the truth will not succeed.
The Americans behaved extremely gentlemanly. The bodies of the pilots were lifted out of the water and with all the honors handed over to the Soviet side. To the aircraft carrier “Essex” Board in the Board stood the destroyer “Conscious” – a unique case in the history of the confrontation of Soviet and American military fleets. Four American fighter formation flying over “Conscious”, and was given a salute. Colonel Pliev was first buried in Severomorsk, but then, at the request of relatives reburied in Showercom cemetery near Tskhinvali.
This case is not rare, just extremely revealing. In 1964 and 1980, two Tu-16 was lost in the sea of Japan immediately after the discovery by them of American and Japanese aircraft carrier squadron. In 1973, another Tu-16 was damaged by a F-4 taking off from the aircraft carrier “John F. Kennedy”. Only by happy coincidence, the Soviet aircraft did not crash and returned to base.
If the Supreme commander had now really harshly to stop such manoeuvres by the Russian air force, it does not mean some kind of “retreat” or the infamous Internet “putinslil”. Common sense has not been canceled. Pilots strive to make it better – or how they are “better” understand. There really are more questions to fathers-commanders, which by definition must be understood not only tactics, but also a whole range of issues, including international law and strategic environment. No wonder naval officers, and especially officers of naval aviation has always been considered multi-specialists with a lot of human knowledge that goes beyond the traditionally narrow military education. And it is mandatory that understanding of the international situation must prevail over emotional impulses inherent in most online communities than the people in the first line of confrontation.
The new cold war came to a dangerous point. Supreme commander is demanding to stop. It is possible that the output of a dead-end practice of international law of the sea could be new negotiations on the specification of the agreements on avoidance of incidents at sea. But the process of these negotiations could serve as the basis for the resumption of cooperation between Russia and the United States, at least on the question of Maritime law.