Chinese jet conducts ‘aggressive’ maneuver in front of U.S. surveillance plane

A Chinese fighter jet buzzed an Air Force surveillance aircraft last week in what officials said was an “unnecessarily aggressive maneuver” over the South China Sea.

On Friday, the pilot of a Chinese J-16 “Flanker” fighter jet flew directly in front of the nose of a USAF RC-135 “Rivet Joint” reconnaissance plane, forcing the U.S. aircraft to fly through its wake turbulence.

“The RC-135 was conducting safe and routine operations over the South China Sea in international airspace, in accordance with international law,” officials with U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said Tuesday.

The incident was the latest in a string of dangerous encounters between the Chinese military and the U.S. in the hotly-contested Indo-Pacific region. On Dec. 21, a Chinese Navy J-11 “Flanker-L” fighter conducted a similar maneuver against an RC-135 airplane.

The fighter “flew an unsafe maneuver by flying in front of and within 20 feet of the nose of the RC-135 forcing (the pilot) to take evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision,” U.S. officials said.

The U.S. said it will continue to fly, sail and operate whereever international law allows.

SEE ALSO: Unprofessional intercept of U.S. aircraft over South China Sea

“We expect all countries in the Indo-Pacific region to use international airspace safely and in accordance with international law,” Indo-Pacific Command said Tuesday.

Source: WT