Chinese fighter jet buzzes U.S. Air Force plane

Must read

A Chinese fighter pilot flew within 20 feet of an Air Force reconnaissance plane over the South China Sea last week, forcing the U.S. aircrew to take evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision, American officials said Thursday.

The Pentagon’s U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement that an Air Force RC-135 aircraft was flying in international airspace and lawfully conducting routine operations on Dec. 21 when a pilot with the People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN) maneuvered a Chinese J-11 fighter jet in front of the large four-engine aircraft.

“The PLAN pilot flew an unsafe maneuver by flying in front of and within 20 feet of the nose of the RC-135,” according to the Indo-Pacific Command statement, which included a video of the incident.

Chinese military pilots regularly shadow U.S. air and naval operations in the South China Sea region. Beijing has made claims of sovereignty over large sections of the region that the U.S. rejects.

“The U.S. Indo-Pacific Joint Force is dedicated to a free and open Indo-Pacific region and will continue to fly, sail and operate at sea and in international airspace with due regard for the safety of all vessels and aircraft under international law,” Indo-Pacific Command officials said.

In 2001, a PLAN interceptor jet collided with a U.S. Navy EP-3 Aries II signals intelligence aircraft, resulting in an international dispute between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party-ruled government in Beijing.

The 2001 incident happened about 100 miles from a Chinese-claimed island in the Paracel archipelago. The Chinese pilot was lost and presumed killed while the stricken U.S. Navy plane was forced to make an emergency landing without permission on the Chinese-held Hainan Island.

The U.S. Navy crew was detained and interrogated until their release almost two weeks later.

More articles

Latest article