Close Encounter Between Chinese Fighter Jet and U.S. Bomber Raises Concerns in South China Sea

Close Encounter Between Chinese Fighter Jet and U.S. Bomber Raises Concerns in South China Sea

In a recent aviation incident that has raised significant concerns about air safety in the South China Sea, a Chinese fighter jet executed a risky maneuver by flying perilously close, within just 10 feet of a U.S. bomber. This "unsafe" and "unprofessional" interception took place during the night, amplifying the inherent risks. The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command promptly addressed this incident through a news release, shedding light on the hazardous situation.

The pilot of the Chinese J-11 fighter jet conducted this "unsafe intercept" while engaging with a U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress that was performing routine operations in international airspace over the South China Sea, as detailed in the release. During this nighttime interception, the actions of the Chinese pilot were described as unprofessional and hazardous. The pilot exhibited poor airmanship by flying at an uncontrolled excessive speed, flying below, in front of, and within 10 feet of the B-52, placing both aircraft in peril of collision.

The challenging conditions of darkness and limited visibility likely contributed to the Chinese pilot's inability to assess the proximity of his aircraft to the bomber, as mentioned in the release. This incident raised serious concerns about the narrowly averted potential collision.

While the specifics of the B-52's flight route were not disclosed in the release, it was mentioned that an undisclosed number of Stratofortresses had been deployed to Guam within the past week for a routine bomber task force mission.

The incident on Tuesday constituted a clear violation of international air safety rules and norms, as highlighted in the release. Military aircraft, especially when intentionally approaching one another, are expected to operate with professional airmanship and prioritize the safety of all aircraft involved.

Close Encounter Between Chinese Fighter Jet and U.S. Bomber Raises Concerns in South China Sea

This near-miss is just one of many incidents involving risky behavior by Chinese pilots in the South China Sea. The region is a subject of territorial disputes, with Beijing making broad claims of sovereignty over it. The Pentagon recently declassified images and videos depicting approximately 180 incidents involving reckless maneuvers by Chinese pilots over the past two years, further adding to the tensions.

Ely Ratner, the Pentagon's assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs, expressed concerns about these incidents and their potential impact on the ability of U.S. forces to operate safely in international airspace under the protection of international law.

In response to the Pentagon's disclosures, China's Ministry of National Defense released a video claiming that the U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson had diverted its course to cross in front of a Chinese warship in the South China Sea on August 19. This video was presented as evidence that the U.S. was provoking risks and causing disturbances in the region.

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command emphasized its commitment to operate safely and responsibly in accordance with international laws, vowing to "fly, sail, and operate" wherever international laws allow. They remain dedicated to a free and open Indo-Pacific region and call on all countries in the Indo-Pacific to do the same, emphasizing the importance of adhering to international law in international airspace.

In conclusion, the incident involving the Chinese fighter jet's risky maneuver near a U.S. bomber in the South China Sea has heightened concerns about aviation safety and international tensions in the region. Both sides have presented their perspectives, but the importance of adhering to international air safety rules remains paramount.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post