A Chinese fighter pilot nearly crashed into an American B-52 bomber over the South China Sea during a nighttime intercept on Tuesday, according to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.
The Chinese pilot "demonstrated poor airmanship" in his J-11 jet, flying within just 10 feet of the B-52 bomber "with uncontrolled excessive speed," putting both planes in danger of colliding, according to U.S. officials.
NEW: @INDOPACOM releases video of "unsafe and unprofessional" maneuver made by Chinese J-11 fighter jet near a US B-52 bomber that occufred on Tuesday over the South China Sea. The Chinese jet got within just 10 feet of the American bomber, per PACOM. pic.twitter.com/wSI6tjUolH
— Matt Seyler (@MattSeyler) October 26, 2023
"The PRC intercept was conducted at night, with limited visibility, in a manner contrary to international air safety rules and norms," a news release from Indo-Pacific Command said.
"We are concerned this pilot was unaware of how close he came to causing a collision," the release said.
According to Indo-Pacific Command, Tuesday's near collision is the latest in a string of more than 180 "unsafe, unprofessional, and other behaviors that seek to impinge upon the ability of the United States and other nations to safely conduct operations" since fall 2021.
Last week, the Pentagon released videos and descriptions of 15 recent instances of what it called "coercive and risky operational behavior" by China's People's Liberation Army against U.S. aircraft, though none of those involved a Chinese fighter harassing a U.S. bomber.
None of the 15 cases of "risky and coercive" PRC pilot behavior released by PACOM last week involved U.S. bombers, according to a U.S. official.