In the second incident between US and Chinese planes this year, two Chinese Su-30 fighter jets came within 150 feet of a U.S. Air Force WC-135 radiation detection plane while it was flying over the Yellow Sea in international airspace on Wednesday, CNN reports, citing an unidentified U.S. official.
The Chinese jets came within 150 feet of the US plane, with one of the Su-30s flying inverted, or upside down, directly above the American plane, the official said.
As CNN reports, the US plane involved was an Air Force WC-135 jet.
Dubbed the "Constant Phoenix," the four-engine WC-135 jet looks for distinctive elements a nuclear test of any type would emit into the air. The collected samples can be analyzed to determine exactly what occurred.
The WC-135 has been regularly deployed on routine missions in Northeast Asia, according to the US official. The planes have been used in the past to gather evidence of possible nuclear tests by North Korea.
There was a modest reaction in USDJPY on the headline…
This is the second 'intercept' this year. In February, US defense officials said there was an "unsafe" close encounter between a US Navy P-3 Orion aircraft and a Chinese surveillance aircraft over the South China Sea. In that incident, a US official told CNN the US Navy plane had to alter course to ensure there wasn't a collision with what one official said was a People's Liberation Army Air Force KJ-200. The planes came within 1,000 feet of each other, US officials said.
And with a second carrier heading towards the Korean Peninsula, we suspect more are inevitable (despite US officials saying close encounters between US and Chinese forces are extremely rare).