Tags: chinese | jets | intercept | nuke-sniffing | us plane

2 Chinese Jets Intercept Nuke-Sniffing US Spy Mission With a Stunt Out of 'Top Gun'

Image: 2 Chinese Jets Intercept Nuke-Sniffing US Spy Mission With a Stunt Out of 'Top Gun'

WC-135 like the Constant Phoenix aircraft (Wikimedia Commons)

By    |   Friday, 19 May 2017 09:40 AM

Two Chinese jets intercepted a nuke-sniffing U.S. military plane in international airspace over the East China Sea on Wednesday in what American officials called an "unprofessional" way – like a scene out of the fighter joke movie "Top Gun."

The WC-135 Constant Phoenix aircraft, which "sniffs" the atmosphere for signs of nuclear activity, was on a routine mission when two Chinese Sukhoi Su-30 fighter aircraft intercepted it, U.S. officials told NBC News.

The four-engine WC-135 jet examines the air for distinctive elements of a nuclear test of any type that would be emitted, according to CNN. The collected samples can be analyzed to determine exactly what occurred.

The officials said the American aircraft was operating in accordance with international law and charged that the Chinese actions were "unprofessional," reported NBC News. They said the incident was being run through the "appropriate diplomatic channels" to address the actions of the Chinese pilots.

U.S. officials told CNN that the Chinese jets came within 150 feet of the U.S. plane, with one of the Su-30s flying inverted, or upside down, directly above the American plane. The move appeared to be similar to an opening scene in the 1986 Tom Cruise movie "Top Gun" (caution: offensive language).

The WC-135 has been regularly deployed on routine missions in Northeast Asia and used in the past to gather evidence of possible nuclear tests by North Korea, U.S. officials told CNN.

In February, Reuters reported that a U.S. Navy P-3 plane and a Chinese military aircraft came close to each other over the South China Sea in an incident the Navy believed at the time was inadvertent.

The aircraft came within 1,000 feet of each other near the Scarborough Shoal, between the Philippines and the Chinese mainland, an official told Reuters. The official said then that similar incidents involving Chinese and American aircraft were infrequent, with only two having taken place in 2016.

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Two Chinese jets intercepted a nuke-sniffing U.S. military plane in international airspace over the East China Sea on Wednesday in what American officials called an "unprofessional" way – like a scene out of the fighter joke movie "Top Gun."
chinese, jets, intercept, nuke-sniffing, us plane
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2017-40-19
Friday, 19 May 2017 09:40 AM
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