VIDEO: Chinese Navy Fighter Flew Within 20 Feet of U.S. Air Force Plane Over South China Sea

December 30, 2022 10:41 AM
Chinese J-11 intercepts a U.S. Air Forces R-135 over the South China Sea. US Indo-Pacific Photo

A Chinese Navy jet intercepted a U.S. Air Force reconnaissance plane in an incident over the South China Sea last week, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said Thursday.

“On Dec. 21 (China Standard Time), a People’s Liberation Army – Navy J-11 fighter pilot performed an unsafe maneuver during an intercept of a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft, which was lawfully conducting routine operations over the South China Sea in international airspace. The PLAN pilot flew an unsafe maneuver by flying in front of and within 20 feet of the nose of the RC-135, forcing the RC-135 to take evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision,” INDOPACOM said in the statement.

Video released by the combatant command shows the PLAN jet flying close to the Air Force plane.

“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. We expect all countries in the Indo-Pacific region to use international airspace safely and in accordance with international law,” the INDOPACOM statement continued.

The Dec. 21 incident occurred on the first day of the Russia-China Joint Sea 2022 drills in the East China Sea. A Chinese Navy submarine, destroyers CNS Baotou (133) and CNS Jinan (152), frigates CNS Binzhou (515) and Yancheng (546), and replenishment ship CNS Gaoyouhu (966) were scheduled to participate in the exercise, USNI News previously reported.

Mallory Shelbourne

Mallory Shelbourne

Mallory Shelbourne is a reporter for USNI News. She previously covered the Navy for Inside Defense and reported on politics for The Hill.
Follow @MalShelbourne

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