The Pentagon said a Chinese fighter jet made several dangerously close passes at a U.S. Navy patrol aircraft over international air space in the South China Sea on Tuesday. The Chinese Shenyang J-11B Flanker B aircraft, with a full weapons load, flew within 20-feet of the Navy P-8A Poseidon Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) aircraft while conducting a routine surveillance mission.
The J-11B made a threatening maneuver when it made a barrel roll over the top of the P-8A. Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said the incident occurred on August 19 about 135 miles east of Hainan Island. Admiral Kirby said the Chinese fighter made three dangerously close passes near the larger Navy submarine-hunting aircraft and displayed its belly, which was fully-laden with weaponry. According to Kirby, the J-11B flew within 30 feet of the P-8A’s wingtips before concluding the encounter with a barrel roll over the top of the Navy aircraft.
“This kind of behavior not only is unprofessional, it’s unsafe and it’s certainly not in keeping with the kind of military-to-military relations that we’d like to have with China.”
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The P-8A Poseidon is a heavily modified Boeing 737 that flies at lower elevations of 5,000 to 10,000 feet for up to nine hours. The Poseidon is a new aircraft in the U.S. Navy, with deployments beginning in 2013. It is considered by the Navy to be the most advanced long-range anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft in the world with its advanced radar and electronic signal sensors.