Chinese fighter flies inverted over US Air Force jet

Chinese fighter flies inverted over US Air Force jet”

Two Chinese Su-30 fighter jets intercepted an American Air Force radiation detection plane over the East China Sea, according to the US Pacific Air Forces.

"While we are still investigating the incident, initial reports from the USA aircrew characterized the intercept as unprofessional".

"U.S. military aircraft routinely transit worldwide airspace throughout the Pacific, including the East China Sea", Hodge said.

"Distances always have a bearing on how we characterize interactions", Hodge added.

US officials told CBS News national security correspondent David Martin that two SU-30s flew within 50-70 feet of the WC-135's right wing tip, then one of the SU-30s did a barrel roll over top of the American plane.

Although China says it respects freedom of navigation in the strategically vital area, it objects to United States military activities, especially the collection of signals intelligence by United States craft operating near the coast of its southern island province of Hainan, home to several military installations.

China has not commented on the incident, but it accuses the USA of carrying out reconnaissance flights over Chinese coastal waters and regularly calls on the U.S. to reduce patrols in the area.

In 2001, a Chinese F-8 fighter collided with a U.S. EP-3 aircraft near China's Hainan Island, killing the Chinese pilot and grounding the U.S. plane.

The US sniffer plane was on a mission to detect radiation in global airspace over the East China Sea.

Mid-air interceptions occur routinely in global airspace, but the U.S. military will often call out foreign pilots if it judges the maneuvers to be risky or unprofessional.

It is noted that this American plane detects radioactive isotopes in the atmosphere, which are signs of nuclear testing.

The Pentagon referred calls to the US Pacific Command.

China's Defense Ministry however, reportedly said the USA was just "hyping up the issue". Two Chinese JH-7 aircraft came within 500 feet of the US aircraft in that incident.

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