Home » Aviation » Chinese Fighter Buzzes U.S. Navy Surveillance Plane, Pentagon Upset

Chinese Fighter Buzzes U.S. Navy Surveillance Plane, Pentagon Upset

P-8A Poseidon, operated by Patrol Squadron (VP-16) in February, 2013. US Navy Photo

P-8A Poseidon, operated by Patrol Squadron (VP-16) in February, 2013. US Navy Photo

The Pentagon has registered its concern with the government of the People’s Republic of China about an aerial confrontation between a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft and a Chinese fighter on Aug. 19.

According to Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters that the P-8 was buzzed by a Chinese fighter roughly 135 miles east of Hainan Island in international airspace.

The Pentagon did not identify the type of Chinese fighter that was involved in the incident, but China operated a large variety of combat aircraft include derivatives of the Soviet-designed Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker.

View P-8A Buzzed in a larger map

“We have registered our strong concerns to the Chinese about the unsafe and unprofessional intercept, which posed a risk to the safety and the well-being of the aircrew, and was inconsistent with customary international law,” Kirby said.

Kirby said that the Chinese fighter made multiple passes next to the P-8, sometimes closing to as little as 20-feet away from the lumbering Navy surveillance aircraft.
“They made several passes, three different occasions, crossed under the aircraft with one pass having only 50-100 feet separation,” Kirby said. “The Chinese jet also passed the nose of the P-8 at 90 degrees with its belly toward the P-8 Poseidon, we believe to make a point of showing its weapons load-out.”

Kirby said that the Chinese actions were out of line with international norms.

“This kind of behavior, not only is unprofessional, it’s unsafe,” Kirby said. “It is certainly not keeping with the kind of military-to-military relationship — relations that we’d like to have with — with China.”

Aggressive behaviour from the Chinese military against U.S. intelligence gathering flights is not new. Over a decade ago, a People’s Liberation Army Navy Shenyang J-8 Finback flown by Lt. Commander Wang Wei accidentally rammed a Navy EP-3 Aries electronic surveillance aircraft. The EP-3 was forced to land on Hainan Island, while Wang Wei was killed in the incident.

  • John Allen

    A P8 hardly “lumbers”……

    • nick

      True tale…

    • Hi dumbass

      how about Russian and China fly a spy plane to the US

  • Larry Castro

    Well, until now I am not sure what US is stopping to give china a lesson.
    Until such time US will not make a move, china will look and treat US as lame giant.
    This act of china is simply saying to the US … “You bastards go back to your home!”

  • Larry Castro

    America, do not forget all countries in South and East Asia are fully supporting whatever drastic move that you plan to give to this bully and greedy china.

    • Hi dumbass

      talk to the American and see do they want to die

  • muzzleloader

    An escort of F-22,s or F-15,s would give the Chicoms a reason to pause.

    • Hi dumbass

      I am an Aussie. don’t U know what is forum ?
      conversation in text form ….dumbass

  • 2IDSGT

    The Chinese are starting to look like an awkward kid that has no social skills at school, or maybe someone with Terets.

  • Ricsie Cabales

    I don’t understand why the United States which is the “MOST POWERFUL COUNTRY IN THE WORLD” is allowing itself to “BULLIED” by China, not just once but as often as China wants to???

  • Peter-Paul de Waal

    The reason the US is not easily provoked, is because its military is – in the eyes of the Chinese – starting to show signs of overstretch.

    Fighting jihadists worldwide, strengthening its presence in Europe because of the crisis in the Ukraine, stepping up its forces in the Middle East because of the crises in Syria and Iraq (IS), keeping a big presence in South Korea is a lot, the more so when one considers the sequestration measures in place. The last thing the US would want, is an all out confrontation with China right now. At least, that’s how the Chinese reckon.

    Nevertheless, it’s quite true that China is bullying Vietnam and the Philipines over the Paracel- and Spratly islands. The US, together with Australia, Singapore and the other ASEAN countries are building a solid alliance. There’s no question in my mind, that Obama won’t do stupid things, like getting into another long, protracted and very costly war, but when push comes to shove, he will order a surgical strike, just to make a point.

    Bejing thinks it can push the limits, just like mr. Putin does. Both think the US are now tired of war and reluctant to act decisively. A severe misconception. When it comes to insults like these, Congress and the Senate will stand like one man behind the president. It would not be wise to provoke the US. A few subs in the South Chinese Sea could sink China’s precious carrier in a moment’s notice.

    There’s one big BUT however: momentarily China is the biggest investor in the US and the economies of both nations are very much tangled up. A military confrontation would force both nations on their knees. Let’s see how this cat and mouse game develops. And let’s hope, both parties keep it cool.

  • omegatalon

    Arm the Poseidon P-8 with a couple of AIM-54 Phoenix air-to-air missiles as no one plays chicken with the possibility of a supersonic Phoenix blowing them out of the sky so quickly that the pilot won’t have time to eject.

  • paladin58

    This behavior is unacceptable. A few AIM-9s strapped under the P-8 wings might give this rogue some second thoughts

  • Secundius

    I suspect the Poseidon wandered into an area the Chicom were preforming a test, and didn’t want us to see and/or electronically record.

  • JSinglet

    escort them…if you don’t want to use Hornets, send armed drones.


    This is not the first time the Chinese have done this, please remember the EP3 incident several years ago, where they were able to force it down and held it for several day.