Military Capabilities

US and Venezuelan aircraft square off over Caribbean waters

23 July 2019

A US Navy Lockheed EP-3 Aries II surveillance aircraft was shadowed by a Venezuelan Sukhoi Su-30 ‘Flanker’ fighter on 19 July while flying over Caribbean waters.

The US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) stated that the EP-3 was flying over international waters and that the Sukhoi behaved in an “aggressive” and “unprofessional manner” as it shadowed the US aircraft at “an unsafe distance.”

The Venezuelan defence ministry provided a different interpretation of the incident, arguing in a 20 July press release that the US aircraft entered Venezuelan territorial waters around the Maiquetia region, and it did not identify itself. The communiqué states that the US aircraft was “escorted” out of Venezuelan waters by the Su-30.

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