A Russian destroyer shadowed the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA-6) on July 16 and 17 during the Rim of the Pacific 2016 exercise, generally staying about one or two nautical miles away but at times coming as close as about 1,000 yards, US Naval Institute News observed.
The Udaloy-class destroyer Admiral Vinogradov (DD-572) approached America around 5 p.m. local time on July 16 and shadowed the warship all night and well into the next day.
The destroyer appeared at one point to peel away and sail toward USS San Diego (LPD-22) an amphibious transport dock sailing in the same amphibious readiness group (ARG) but then turned back to America.
At the time, America was sailing in international waters, San Diego was closer to U.S. territorial waters.
Even as the Russians observed the U.S. ship, America’s sailors used binoculars to take in the weapons, crew, awards painted on the side of the hull and the material condition of the Russian destroyer.
Admiral Vinogradov had sailed towards other amphibious ships in the ARG earlier during the exercise but only followed them for a few hours before breaking off. The destroyer’s shadowing of America was the most extended action thus far between Vinogradov and other ships in the multinational exercise to which Russia has been invited to in 2012.
USNI News understands that the Russian ship would be free to operate in international waters as long as it stayed at least 500 yards away from America. Getting close would bring warnings and eventually the U.S. ship could use its weapons to protect itself.
America’s CO stressed that the Russian CO and the ship’s crew operated safely and professionally – despite the close proximity. America continued with its role in exercise, despite the visitor.