A pair of Chinese fighter jets brazenly flew right over a U.S. Navy destroyer recently, with the pilot of the lead fighter jet taking a selfie-style cockpit video capturing the overflight.
The overflight video from the Chinese pilot was recently published on the Chinese state-run CCTV7 channel. An unknown U.S. Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer can be seen in the bottom right corner of the brief selfie video.
The unnamed pilot in the video and his wingman are flying J-15 fighter jets, a carrier-based fighter derived from a prototype Russian Su-33.
It is not exactly clear when this overflight took place, but the video was shared with Chinese state media after a relatively high point in tensions between the U.S. and China.
In August, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan elicited an angered response from China, which launched military drills around the island for several days after Pelosi’s visit. The U.S. deployed additional warships in the region as China carried out its drills and sailed a pair of guided-missile cruisers through the Taiwan Strait later on in August.
China also lodged a formal complaint against the U.S. last week, after President Joe Biden said the U.S. would come to Taiwan’s defense if China were to attack the island. Though Biden signaled the U.S. would defend the island, the true U.S. position remains ambiguous and the White House walked back the comments by saying the U.S. position on China has not changed.
Chinese aerial and naval forces have shadowed U.S. naval transits through the Taiwan Strait in the past. The Chinese military has also sought to make shows of force whenever tensions run high with the U.S.
The exact location of this latest Chinese military flight is also unclear, but The Drive reported the J-15 fighters likely took off from the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning.
The Chinese aircraft carrier has been seen operating east of Taiwan in recent months. Satellite imagery showed Liaoning was at sea between September 5 and 7, and returned to its port at the Yuchi Naval Base in Shandong on September 8.