/ November 2, 2023
China flew one of its fighter jets dangerously close to a U.S. B-52 bomber last week, American military officials said.
The disclosure of the Oct. 24 incident, in which the Chinese jet flew “within 10 feet” of the U.S. bomber was the first time the U.S. military revealed a Chinese intercept of a B-52.
U.S. nuclear-capable bombers regularly conduct long-range missions in Asia as part of Pentagon efforts to push back against expansive Chinese claims to 90% of the South China Sea.
According to a statement from the U.S. Indo-Pacific command, a Chinese J-11 jet “executed an unsafe intercept of a U.S. Air Force B-52 aircraft, which was lawfully conducting routine operations over the South China Sea in international airspace.”
The Chinese pilot maneuvered his aircraft “in an unsafe and unprofessional manner,” the statement said.
The incident took place over the South China Sea that China claims as its sovereign maritime territory and that the Pentagon insists is open international waters and airspace.
The U.S. military released an infrared video (see below) of the incident showing the Chinese jet flying very close to the bomber.
Additionally, the Chinese pilot showed poor airmanship by closing in on the bomber with “uncontrolled excessive speed, flying below, in front of, and within 10 feet of the B-52,” the statement said.
The incident placed both aircraft in danger of a mid-air collision, U.S. commanders said.
“We are concerned this pilot was unaware of how close he came to causing a collision,” the statement said.
The U.S. officials said the communist regime in Beijing intercepted the B-52 in response to recent Pentagon complaints about nearly 200 dangerous aerial jet encounters.
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