Chinese Jets Intercept US Plane in ‘Unsafe’ Incident

Courtney Kube
Key Points
  • Chinese fighter jets intercepted an American surveillance aircraft southeast of Hong Kong.
  • The Navy described the maneuver as "unsafe."
  • In a similar event last week, two Chinese fighter jets intercepted a U.S. surveillance plane.
J-10, China's multirole fighter planes.
Getty Images

Two Chinese fighter jets intercepted a U.S. surveillance aircraft a couple hundred miles southeast of Hong Kong this week in a maneuver the Navy described as "unsafe."

The Chinese J-10 fighter aircraft flew about 200 yards in front of the U.S. Navy P-3 Orion on May 24, making quick and erratic turns and restricting the plane's ability to maneuver, one official said. One of the Chinese jets came within 100 feet of the U.S. plane.

A U.S. Navy P-3 Orion Maritime patrol aircraft.
Murad Sezer | Reuters

"The aircrew deemed the intercept unsafe and unprofessional," U.S. Navy Commander Gary Ross said in a statement Friday. "Operations were able to continue unimpeded. We continue to review the facts of this incident and will convey our concerns through appropriate channels with the Chinese government."

The incident follows a similar event over the East China Sea last week when two Chinese fighter jets intercepted a U.S. sniffer plane. A WC-135 Constant Phoenix aircraft was conducting a routine mission over international airspace when two Sukhoi Su-30 fighter aircraft intercepted it.

Officials called that incident "unprofessional."

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Watch: Two Chinese jets intercept U.S. military aircraft

Two Chinese jets intercepted a U.S. military aircraft over the East China Sea