Australia recently lodged a complaint with China over the PLA intercepting a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) maritime surveillance flight in international airspace over the South China Sea, which the Deputy Prime Minister termed as “very dangerous.” The close call happened on May 26, according to reports.
The Australian Defense Department said in a statement that “a RAAF P-8 maritime surveillance aircraft was intercepted by a Chinese J-16 fighter aircraft during a routine maritime surveillance activity in international airspace in the South China Sea region”.
A Chinese fighter jet veered in front of an Australian military plane and fired off a cloud of debris that entered its engine, Australia’s defense ministry said.
The Chinese aircraft “flew very close to the side of the [Australian] P-8 maritime surveillance aircraft” and then “released flares,” Defense Minister Richard Marles told reporters.
The flare or chaff is normally released by military planes as a planned countermeasure to confuse missiles, but it can also be used to sabotage an aircraft in flight. Australia had also accused China of firing military-grade lasers on one of its P-8 aircraft from its warship in February this year. The claims, however, have been denied by Beijing
The Australian claims come shortly after Canada accused Chinese warplanes of conducting dangerous interceptions over the East China Sea that it claimed could have led to a collision.
Canadian aircraft have been deployed in Japan as part of a multi-national effort to enforce UN sanctions against North Korea. Just a few days ago, Ottawa had accused Chinese warplanes of flying ‘dangerously close’ to its CP-140 maritime patrol aircraft, as previously reported by EurAsian Times.
Not just that, the Canadian Armed Force contended that since December last year, Chinese fighter pilots have been conducting dangerous interceptions against the recon aircraft, sometimes making eye contact and showing middle fingers.
According to Global News, there have been nearly 60 such intercepts by Chinese fighter jets, with more than two dozen labeled dangerous
Both Australia and Canada are part of the five-eye alliance or intelligence-sharing arrangement between the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.