Footage has been released showing the PLA interception of a USAF RC-135 over the South China Sea on December 21, which the United States Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) denounced as “unsafe” as the PLAN J-11 Flanker came within 20 feet of the reconnaissance aircraft.
A PLAN (??) J-11 jet flew in dangerously close proximity to a USAF (??) RC-135, forcing the aircraft to conduct evasive manoeuvres.
The incident happened in international airspace above the South China Sea on December 21, 2022. pic.twitter.com/EIu5495phh
— Aerospace Intelligence (@space_osint) December 29, 2022
A statement released by INDOPACOM that was released earlier today read “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.”
“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 statement added.