The US Navy said on Thursday that a Chinese military warship fired a military grade laser at US Navy’s P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft last week while it was flying over the Pacific Ocean, an action that the US Navy called “unsafe and unprofessional.
“The People’s Republic of China “navy destroyer’s actions were unsafe and unprofessional,” US Pacific Fleet said in a statement Thursday.”Weapons-grade lasers could potentially cause serious harm to aircrew and mariners, as well as ship and aircraft systems,” the statement added.
Previously, Chinese personnel at the country’s first overseas military base in Djibouti have been using lasers to interfere with US military aircraft C-130J at a nearby American base, activity that has resulted in injuries to US pilots and prompted the US to launch a formal diplomatic protest with Beijing, two military officials told CNN.The US issued a notice to airmen “to exercise caution when flying in certain areas in Djibouti,” which “was issued due to lasers being directed at US aircraft on a small number of separate occasions over the last few weeks,” according to the notice obtained by news agency CNN.
Military-grade laser beams, occasionally known as “dazzlers,” omit a powerful beam of light that can travel great distances and be used to illuminate aircraft cockpits, temporarily blinding pilots.
Defense officials told CNN that a formal diplomatic protests known as a démarche is expected to be issued.The incident comes amid ongoing tensions between the US and Chinese militaries.
The Pentagon has repeatedly said that China represents an increasingly serious threat to regional security, saying that major Chinese investments in its military are aimed at achieving regional dominance.”Over time, we have watched them seize and militarize islands in the South China Sea, and rapidly modernize their armed forces, while seeking to use emerging technologies to alter the landscape of power and reshape the world in their favor … and often at the expense of others,” US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said earlier this month.Chinese lasers injure US military pilots in Africa, Pentagon says
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