Pentagon declassifies videos of “coercive and risky” Chinese behavior against U.S. jets

The Pentagon declassified videos and images of 15 incidents wherein Chinese jets carried out “coercive and risky” maneuvers, typically inside a mere 20 toes of U.S. jets within the Indo-Pacific area. 

The images and video launched Tuesday present a subset of what the Pentagon considers half of a “centralized and concerted campaign” by China to vary U.S. operations within the area. 

There have been greater than 180 cases of “coercive and risky” behavior against U.S. jets for the reason that fall of 2021. That’s extra incidents previously two years than within the decade earlier than that, Assistant Defense Secretary for the Indo-Pacific Ely Ratner advised reporters on Tuesday. 

The Pentagon launched photographs of a Chinese fighter jet within the South China Sea approaching simply 50 toes from a U.S. aircraft.

Defense Department

“That’s nearly 200 cases where PLA operators have performed reckless maneuvers or discharged chaff or shot off flares or approached too rapidly or too close to U.S. aircraft — all as part of trying to interfere with the ability of U.S. forces to operate safely,” Ratner mentioned. 

One of the declassified videos launched was taken in July and exhibits a Chinese jet deploying flares over the East China Sea. According to the Pentagon, the jet despatched eight flares simply 900 toes from a U.S. aircraft. The most up-to-date video is from September when a Chinese jet approached inside simply 50 toes of a U.S. aircraft over the South China Sea, in response to the Pentagon. 

The “coercive and risky” behavior is barely much less harmful than the characterization of “unsafe and unprofessional,” which is basically when lives are at stake, the pinnacle of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Adm. John Aquilino mentioned. 

The Pentagon launched photographs of a Chinese fighter jet within the East China Sea that deployed eight flares 900 toes from a U.S. aircraft.

Defense Department

“What we’ve seen since 2021 is a set of actions that have brought airplanes much closer together than are comfortable for those in the cockpit,” Aquilino mentioned, including {that a} subset of the 180 cases have been “unsafe and unprofessional.”  

Both Aquilino and Ratner mentioned that China’s provocative behavior just isn’t restricted to the air — the Chinese additionally harass U.S. ships. 

The declassified videos come forward of the annual Chinese Military Power Report the Pentagon submits to Congress, which describes the weather of China’s rising navy. Ratner mentioned this 12 months’s report, which he expects to be launched quickly, will element the uptick in China’s harassing behavior. 

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