Audio and Video of the U.S. P-8A aircraft defying China’s Navy warnings to leave airspace over disputed islands

A P-8A Poseidon from Patrol Squadron (VP) 45 captures surveillance footage of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) conducting land reclamation operations in the South China Sea.

On May 20, a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft belonging to Patrol Squadron (VP) 45 conducted a routing surveillance flight over the South China Sea, where has started building an airstrip on the disputed Spratly Islands in the waters claimed by the Philippines.

During the flight, the crew of the P-8A documented several warnings, issued by China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), most probably on the International Emergency (“Guard”) frequency 121.5 MHz, to leave the area as the U.S. military plane was approaching their military alert zone.

Interestingly, the U.S. aircraft replies to the Chinese Navy operators urging it to leave their area “quickly” as follows:

“Station calling U.S. military plane, please identify yourself”.

Then, after receiving confirmation that it was a People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) operator, the answer is always the same: “I’m a U.S. military aircraft conducting lawful military activities outside national airspace; I’m operating with due regard as required under International Law.”

The audio seems to be disturbed by some kind of jamming.

Anyway, according to the U.S. Navy, the P-8 mission documented the continued expansion of reefs which have been turned into man-made islands with airport infrastructure in the South China Sea.


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Shouldn’t that US pilot be fired for his insolence? I mean, the Chinese Navy afterall, they wouldn’t lie or anything…would they? I mean, didn’t 0bama and BiteMe BOTH tell us how great the Chinese are and that they are not a threat to us, like GLOBAL WARMING is?

  2. The dispute over the south china sea islands is a long and tedious story. China has claims as do vietnam, taiwan, the phillipines, brunei, indonesia and malaysia. Name of game is resources and strategic control of sea lanes.
    According to UNCLOS, artificial islands do not afford the occupying nation territorial waters.

    * Per article 60 of UNCLOS:
    Artificial islands, installations and structures and the safety zones around them may not be established where interference may be caused to the use of recognized sea lanes essential to international navigation.
    Artificial islands, installations and structures do not possess the status of islands. They have no territorial sea of their own,
    and their presence does not affect the delimitation of the territorial
    sea, the exclusive economic zone or the continental shelf.

    The United States purports to defend the freedom of navigation in a
    manner consistent with international law. In this context, the fact that
    the United States has not ratified the United Nations Convention on the
    Law of Sea (UNCLOS) is somewhat problematic. Also ASEAN can solve the dispute without interference from imperial powers.

  3. Well, we learn today that China tried to jam and possibly bring down a Global Hawk over the Spratly islands. USN may have to defend our UAVs in international airspace.

    President Xi’s state visit to DC in September 2015 is going to be an interesting one.

    • I think China tried to jam a global hawk but failed. No hawk down in Spratly area. Xi’s visit in September will surely be interesting.

  4. One Cyclone or Hurricane Later…there will be nothing left of what they built, and if there is..Arc Light, Arc Light, 99.167’N,115,5333′ E

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