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The first incident took place Sept. 10, when a Tupolev Tu-95 Bear maritime patrol plane overflew the Taylor as it was sailing away from Murmansk in international waters in the Barents Sea. The Bear made two passes, the first at about 10,000 feet and the second much closer — about 50 yards away from the ship and only about 100 feet above it, said Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan. The plane apparently had its bomb bay doors open.
In the second incident on Sept. 11, the Taylor sighted a Russian warship that dispatched two Ka-29 Helix helicopters, which buzzed the frigate several times, coming as close as about 30 yards and about 100 feet above it, Lapan said. He did not have information about the Russian ship the helicopters had come from, but he did say the Taylor made some kind of contact with it, although “the nature of the communications was unclear.
The closeness of the contacts made them “a rare occurrence,” Lapan acknowledged, which is what prompted Roughead and Vysotskiy to discuss whether the encounters violated “agreed-upon protocols,” he said.