American WC-135 plane intercepted by Chinese Su30s

Defence News: A pair of Su30 from China intercepted an American aircraft (WC-135) Nuclear explosion “sniffer” plane over the resource rich east China sea, while flying in international airspace. U.S Military has described this incident as an “unprofessional” interception. “The issue is being addressed with China through appropriate diplomatic and military channels,” said Air Force spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Lori Hodge.

US Govt. Air Force image

Hodge said that the information was based from initial reports by the U.S. aircrew aboard the WC-135 Constant Phoenix aircraft “due to the maneuvers by the Chinese pilot, as well as the speeds and proximity of both aircraft.” She continued, “Distances always have a bearing on how we characterize interactions,” moreover a U.S. military investigation related to the intercept was underway. She conveyed that the jet was operating within the scope of international law.

WC-135 Constant Phoenix is a special-purpose aircraft  based on the Boeing C-135. Its mission is to collect samples from the atmosphere for the purpose of detecting and identifying nuclear explosions. It is also informally referred to as the “weather bird” or “the sniffer” by workers on the program. Effluent gasses are gathered by two scoops on the sides of the fuselage, which in turn trap fallout particles on filters. The mission crews have the ability to analyze the fallout residue in real-time, helping to confirm the presence of nuclear fallout and possibly determine the characteristics of the warhead involved. It can carry a crew of 33 personnel. However, personnel are kept to a minimum during mission flights in order to lessen levels of radioactive exposure.

On Feb. 8, a U.S. Navy P-3 spy plane and a Chinese military aircraft came close to each other over the South China Sea. China is growing suspicious of U.S military activity in the region. However conflicts have arisen due to Chinese taking control of islands in international waters and challenging international maritime law and freedom of navigation. China has insatiable hunger for resources and land. It’s land grab craze along with negative trade balances has led to alienation by most countries around the world. Chinese investments everywhere have come attached with strings of expensive debt mostly at the expense of host countries.

The United States has responded to Chinese intentions by flying in international space claimed by China as it’s own, US warships and aircraft have been present in the region to reiterate to the Chinese that it’s actions will not go down unnoticed.

Written by Vikram Aryan

Vikram Aryan is known for his planning and management skills. It would be wrong to say he works for someone. As people are rather known to work for him. He writes for us just for his love for India and his flair for writing on defence matters in which he has unique insights.

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