A Chinese J-16 fighter jet not only buzzed an Australian P-8 recon plane, it fired flares and chaff that entered one of its engines!
Chinese J-16 Fighter Fired Flares, Chaff At Australian Plane!
On 5 June 2022, Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles announced that a Chinese J-16 fighter jet put the crew of an Australian P-8 reconnaissance plane at risk during a recent mid-air intercept on 26 May.
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-8 Poseidon was in the South China Sea conducting “routine maritime surveillance” activities in international waters when it was intercepted by a Chinese Shenyang J-16 fighter.
This time though, the J-16 pilot recklessly cut across the Australian recon plane’s flight path at close proximity, and fired flares and chaff.
Some of the chaff – usually aluminium foil or aluminium-coated glass fibres – were ingested by one of the Australian P-8 aircraft’s engines, potentially damaging it.
This was apparently done to forcibly end the recon aircraft’s patrol. Any potential damage to one of the engines would force the crew to return to base, even though the Boeing P-8 Poseidon can operate on a single engine.
What occurred was that the J-16 aircraft flew very close to the side of the P-8 maritime surveillance aircraft. In flying close to the side, it released flares.
The J-16 then accelerated and cut across the nose of the P-8, settling in front of the P-8 at a very close distance.
At that moment it then released a bundle of chaff, which contains small pieces of aluminum, some of which were ingested into the engine of the P-8 aircraft. Quite obviously, this is very dangerous.
The Australian Defense Ministry described the incident as “a dangerous maneuver which posed a safety threat to the P-8 aircraft and its crew”.
Chinese Justified J-16 Firing Flares, Chaff At Australian P-8…
In a statement released on 7 June 2022, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Tan Kefei justified the J-16’s dangerous intercept by accusing the Australian P-8 aircraft of “approaching Chinese airspace” close to the Paracel Islands.
The Paracel Islands, which the Chinese call “Xisha Islands”, is a disputed archipelago in the South China Sea claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan.
While the Vietnamese were in control of the Paracel Islands since 1947, they were taken over by China after the Battle of the Paracel Islands in January 1974.
He also claimed that the Chinese pilot behaved in a “professional, safe, reasonable and lawful way“.
On May 26, an Australian P-8 anti-submarine patrol aircraft conducted close reconnaissance in the neighboring airspace of China’s Xisha Islands and approached the airspace continuously despite repeated warnings from the Chinese side.
The People’s Liberation Army’s Southern Theater Command mobilized naval and air forces to identify the craft and warned it off.
The Chinese military responded in a professional, safe, reasonable and lawful way.
Militaries from other countries should take note of what the Chinese government considers as “professional, safe, reasonable and lawful” conduct, and return the favour.
Perhaps once a Chinese jet or two have ingested chaff into their engines, they will reconsider such “professional, safe, reasonable and lawful” intercepts.
This was also the second time in the same week Chinese aircraft have aggressively intercepted reconnaissance aircraft from other countries.
Just a day earlier, the Canadian government revealed that Chinese fighters repeatedly “buzzed” Canadian CP-140 Aurora maritime patrol aircraft that were monitoring North Korea to enforce United Nations sanctions under Operation NEON.
The Chinese fighters flew so close, their pilots were “very clearly visible”, and the Canadian aircrews had to change course to avoid collisions. Canadian Armed Forces media relations chief Dan Le Bouthillie said :
In these interactions, PLAAF (People’s Liberation Army Air Force) aircraft did not adhere to international air safety norm.
These interactions are unprofessional and/or put the safety of our RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) personnel at risk.
The Chinese naturally claimed that their national security was endangered by the Canadian aircraft’s monitoring of a completely different country… Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian said :
Recently, under the pretext of enforcing UN Security Council resolutions, Canadian warplanes have intensified close-in reconnaissance of China and acted provocatively, endangering Chinese national security and the safety of frontline personnel from both sides.
China urges Canada to face up to the seriousness of the situation, strictly control its frontline troops, and stop taking any risky and provocative actions; otherwise, Canada will have to take all responsibilities for any serious consequences from such actions.
In short, it’s never China’s fault, and everyone is always provoking them. Tut tut….
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