Chinese J-11 Executes Unsafe Intercept Flying Within 10 feet Of A U.S. B-52

A screengrab from the video shot by the B-52's pod.

The close encounter between the U.S. B-52 and the PLA J-11 took place in international airspace over the South China Sea.

On Oct. 24, 2023, a Chinese J-11 intercepted a U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bomber flying a night time mission in international airspace over the South China Sea. According to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, the Chinese pilot “flew in an unsafe and unprofessional manner, demonstrated poor airmanship by closing with uncontrolled excessive speed, flying below, in front of, and within 10 feet of the B-52, putting both aircraft in danger of collision”.

“We are concerned this pilot was unaware of how close he came to causing a collision,” a public statement says.

“The PRC intercept was conducted at night, with limited visibility, in a manner contrary to international air safety rules and norms. Military aircraft, when intentionally approaching another, shall operate with professional airmanship and give due regard for the safety of other aircraft.”

The incident is just the latest of a long series of close encounters (180 since the fall of 2021) between U.S. and Chinese aircraft that the Department of Defense described as “unsafe” and “unprofessional”: as we have reported in detail in a recent post, the Pentagon on Oct. 17, 2023, released a collection of declassified images and videos depicting “a dangerous pattern of coercive and risky operational behavior by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) against U.S. aircraft”, although just a few of those clips really show the most dangerous and aggressive maneuvers carried out by the Chinese pilots during the interception of U.S. spyplanes (mainly P-8, EP-3E and RC-135 aircraft).

Dealing with the most recent interaction, the DoD has released a short clip shot by the B-52’s SNIPER Advanced Targeting Pod (if you can’t play the embedded video below, click here).

B-52 Stratofortresses and airmen with the 2nd Bomb Wing are currently deployed to Andersen AFB, Guam, for a BTF (Bomber Task Force) rotation. The BUFFs carry out routine missions to the South China Sea (in flights of two bombers).

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.