Despite South China Sea Tensions, Air Force Commander Sees No Overt Intercept Threat


There haven’t been a lot of aircraft intercepts in the South China Sea even as tensions in the region become increasingly uneasy, a top Air Force general said Monday.

As China continues to build up contested islands in the region, U.S. Air Force strategic bombers such as the B-52 Stratofortress have not been overtly threatened during recent patrols, said Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown Jr., head of Pacific Air Forces Command.

There have been “very few intercepts of our bomber missions, but there’s been intercepts of some of our intelligence aircraft,” he said during a briefing with reporters at the Pentagon. The B-52 in recent weeks has made flights in the region.

“It’s sporadic. It’s not like every time we fly we get intercepted,” Brown said, adding that some intercepts could be considered unprofessional but “not necessarily” unsafe. “It kind of ebbs and flows.”