A Chinese fighter jet swerved in front of a U.S. spy plane with an “unnecessarily aggressive maneuver,” causing the cockpit and its pilots to wobble, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement Tuesday.
The J-16 abruptly cut in front of the nose of the surveillance aircraft at a distance of about 400 feet while flying over the South China Sea in international airspace, which forced the U.S. plane to fly through the jet’s wake turbulence, according to the statement and video released by INDOPACOM.
The command said its RC-135 was conducting “safe and routine operations” and it expects “all countries in the Indo-Pacific region to use international airspace safely and in accordance with international law.”
“The United States will continue to fly, sail, and operate – safely and responsibly – wherever international law allows, and the U.S. Indo-Pacific Joint Force will continue to fly in international airspace with due regard for the safety of all vessels and aircraft under international law,” INDOPACOM stated.
A senior U.S. defense official told reporters that the incident, which occurred last Friday, was part of a “wider pattern” of coordinated harassment from Chinese pilots.
WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW:
Here is video of the incident where the J-16 flew in front of the RC-135 at a distance of 400 feet, the US plane then flew through its wake — you can see the plane bounce. pic.twitter.com/rRdGfDSR1x— luis martinez (@LMartinezABC) May 30, 2023