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China Freaks Out Over Supposed U-2 Spy Plane Flight Over Its Naval Exercise


Jun 19, 2014
United States
United States
China is making a big deal out of a supposed overflight by a U.S. Air Force U-2 spy plane of one of its currently underway People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) exercises. It isn't clear where exactly the incident is claimed to have taken place as China has four major naval wargames underway in the South China Sea, Yellow Sea, East China Sea, of Sea of Bohai right now. The northeastern reaches of the South China Sea, in particular, has experienced a massive uptick in military activity in recent weeks, with Chinese forces and U.S. forces flooding the area with military capabilities. The U.S. has placed a near-constant stream of surveillance aircraft over the area and Taiwan has raised its alert status due to the activity level of PLAN assets. The latest Chinese drills in that region are slated to run from the 24th to the 29th, but in the case of the supposed U-2 mission in question, the Yellow Sea exercises seem most likely where the high flying spy aircraft crashed the PLAN's party.

U-2s sortie out of Osan Air Base in South Korea, making the trip west to the Yellow Sea local in nature. China also says the incident occurred in an area that was under its Northern Theater Command's responsibility, pointing to exercises in this area. The U.S. still hasn't confirmed the mission took place or responded on any level to China's accusations.

According to Reuters, China says its Defense Ministry has lodged 'stern representations" with the U.S. government over the U-2 “seriously interfering in normal exercise activities" that could have resulted in an "unexpected incident." They added that the flight was "an act of provocation, and China is resolutely opposed to it... China demands the U.S. side immediately stop this kind of provocative behavior and take actual steps to safeguard peace and stability in the region.”

While China can issue a notice to airmen (NOTAM) warning of live-fire drills, the vast majority of the exercise would have taken place in international waters. So, the U-2 may have waltzed into or near China's air defense identification zone, and the airspace it 'closed' for the exercise, but that doesn't mean it broke any territorial boundaries.

Still, doing so is undoubtedly a bold move. If China was executing live-fire drills, placing an aircraft in that area ups the risk of a mistake being made. Still, they could see the U-2 coming from far away and the aircraft has one of the world's most capable electronic warfare self-protection suites. The potential payoffs of pushing one of these spy planes directly over or near a Chinese live-fire naval exercise are also quite high. The aircraft could suck up all of the PLAN's radar, data-links, and other communications signatures, as well as eavesdrop on its voice communications and monitor its operational procedures. Just how the PLAN would respond to the U-2 being there and what sensors would track it could dramatically increase the fidelity of this intelligence value, as well. In other words, it would both stimulate and surveil the PLAN's integrated air defense capabilities.

It's also worth noting that China has no fighter aircraft capable of physically intercepting a U-2 and harassing it. That doesn't mean they don't have the capability to shoot one down though, but an incident like the one that occurred off of Hainan Island in 2001, which involved a much lower-flying U.S. Navy EP-3E Aries II spy plane, wouldn't be a factor when employing a U-2.

As it sits now, China looks set to potentially execute a major test of its anti-ship ballistic missile capabilities in the coming hours and days. This would be a relatively large development as these anti-access/area-denial long-range weapons are among the most mysterious yet feared capabilities in China's arsenal, ones aimed squarely at U.S. carrier strike groups that frequent the region. The People's Liberation Army reportedly conducted a similar ballistic missile exercise last year, which also involved firing the weapons into the South China Sea from areas deep within the mainland.

It will be interesting to see if China responds to this overflight militarily. The Chinese military has its own stable of high-altitude, long-endurance aircraft, unmanned ones, that it could send over U.S. carrier strike groups, but doing so could give away certain vulnerabilities in their sensors and data-links. Still, that would be the closest thing China has to a direct response at this time.

Regardless of what comes next as part of China's big summer rush of naval exercises, if this mission did indeed take place, it would be clear that the U.S. military is upping the invasiveness of its surveillance flights near PLAN operations and also heightening the risk it is willing to take on in the process. It serves as yet another sign of the growing unease between the two superpowers.

Beyond that, it's amazing to think that America's 65 year-old-spyplane is still drumming up international incidents after so many years.


Feng Leng

Aug 3, 2017
When a spy plane flies so high it is almost useless. Might as well as be a satellite passing overhead.
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Feb 5, 2011
LOL.. Self bragging article. I guess the reason to fly so high becos they are scared of Chinese laser.

But given so high, the data collected maybe very limited.


Jun 9, 2011
China protests US spy plane for breaching PLA no-fly zone
By Liu Xuanzun and Guo Yuandan Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/25 21:37:06

Wreckage of a US-made U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft is on display at the Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution in Beijing. The military on the island of Taiwan used U-2s to conduct reconnaissance missions on the Chinese mainland since January 1962, and the PLA Air Force shot down the first U-2 on September 9, 1962 in the suburbs of Nanchang, East China's Jiangxi Province. Photo: Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution

The Chinese military strongly protested a US spy plane trespassing into a no-fly zone of a live-fire drill by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), a spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of National Defense said on Tuesday, warning that the move threatened to cause a misjudgment and even an accident, and was a blatant act of provocation.

The US military aircraft faced the risk of being mistakenly shot down when it entered a previously announced military drill restriction zone, and the PLA exercised great restraint not to do so, Chinese experts said.

China has shot down five U-2 aircraft in the past as they trespassed into the Chinese mainland airspace, Chinese military observers noted.

The U-2 high altitude reconnaissance aircraft trespassed into a no-fly zone that is currently hosting a live-fire drill by the PLA Northern Theater Command on Tuesday, which seriously interrupted the Chinese troops' normal exercises, said Defense Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian in a statement.

Wu did not elaborate where exactly the plane trespassed.

According to navigation restriction notices released by Chinese maritime safety authorities in the past days, multiple live-fire drills were being held on Tuesday in the Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea, which are under the jurisdiction of the PLA Northern Theater Command.

The move seriously violated the code of conduct for the safety of air and maritime encounters between China and the US, as well as related international norms, and could have easily caused misunderstanding and misjudgment, and even triggered an air and maritime accident, Wu said.

This was a blatant act of provocation, and the Chinese side is strongly against this, and has lodged solemn representations with the US, Wu said, noting that China demands the US to stop such provocative moves at once, and take concrete actions to maintain peace and stability in the region.

Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the U-2's trespassing into PLA drill restriction zones risked being mistakenly shot down.

If the U-2 entered Chinese airspace, it fits into norms and logic that the PLA has the right to shoot it down, Song said, noting that even if it did not fly into Chinese airspace, as long as it trespassed into the PLA's previously announced no-fly zone, it would also face the risk of being shot down.

The US should understand that the PLA must have exercised great restraint not to shoot it down, and that it should not provoke again, Song said.

A Chinese military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Tuesday that it is a normal practice for many militaries including the US' to announce no-fly zones to prevent accidents. The US spy plane knowingly committed the offense, which was very dangerous and disregarded the safety of the US pilot.

The expert said that a foreign military aircraft trespassing into live-fire drills means that it has become a live target. If the US military aircraft entered the Chinese military drill zone and got mistakenly shot down, the US military would only have itself to blame.

The US should not regret it when its warships sink, warplanes crash and soldiers are buried in an alien land, the anonymous expert warned.

China lodged solemn representations with the US on the day of the incident, and this showed China's responsible attitude and the use of diplomatic means and public opinion to force the US to stop its stupid, irresponsible move. It showed that China is exercising maximum restraint in maintaining regional peace and stability, another expert told the Global Times under condition of anonymity.

The US military has been stirring up trouble near China from the South China Sea, the Taiwan Straits, the East China Sea and the Yellow Sea by sending warships and warplanes, which is increasing the odds of an accidental conflict, the anonymous expert said, noting that it will be the US who will be responsible for any potential accident.

The US spy attempt would also be fruitless, because the drills will change very fast, and the US aircraft's sudden appearance could also serve as training target for the PLA, experts said.

According to publicly available information, China has shot down as many as five U-2s between 1962 and 1967 as they trespassed into Chinese mainland airspace.

Developed by US arms company Lockheed Martin in the 1950s, the U-2 strategic reconnaissance aircraft can conduct spying missions at an altitude of 27,430 meters, with a top speed of 821 kilometers an hour.

The military in the island of Taiwan had been using U-2s to conduct reconnaissance missions on the Chinese mainland since January 1962, and the PLA Air Force shot down the first U-2 on September 9, 1962 in the suburbs of Nanchang, East China's Jiangxi Province.



Aug 17, 2017
United States
United States
LOL.. Self bragging article. I guess the reason to fly so high becos they are scared of Chinese laser.

But given so high, the data collected maybe very limited.
This is actually very dangerous though ... if that laser manages to blind a pilot and causes the aircraft to crash, there would be severe military repercussions. Obviously the Chinese are trying to use that to deter US ELINT flights but directly pointing lasers is not a good idea.
Nov 29, 2018
PLARF fires ‘aircraft-carrier killer
DF-21D and DF-26B
missile into South China Sea in
warning to the Vermin Murican Navy



It is a high time to FORCE those Ultra Coward Chinese Elites in power position ( who may stash Trillions of Corruption Money in usa ) who are showing continuously ultra GUTLESS behaviors such as ( Li Ke Qiang and Jiang Ze Min & his son & his grand son ) to kowtow and yield to the true Patriotic MAOIST group.

Let's send a very LOUD public warning immediately ...

that the next VERMIN Murican Navy destroyers which dare to trespass passing through the middle line on the Taiwan straits will be punished by forcing this Vermin Murican destroyer to collide with the DF-21D.


Sep 19, 2018
United States
Pompeo is purposely sending those plans to provoke an attack and create grounds for a full scale war.

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