The Australian Defence Force has issued a statement saying a RAAF aircraft was intercepted by a Chinese fighter in the South China Sea last month.
FILE PHOTO: People’s Liberation Army Air Force J-16. Photo courtesy Government of Taiwan, via WikiMedia Commons.
On 26 May 2022, 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, the statement said.
“The intercept resulted in a dangerous manoeuvre which posed a safety threat to the P-8 aircraft and its crew.
“Defence has for decades undertaken maritime surveillance activities in the region and does so in accordance with international law, exercising the right to freedom of navigation and overflight in international waters and airspace.”
Defence Minister Richard Marles said the J-16 aircraft flew very close to the side of the P-8 maritime surveillance aircraft and released flares.
“The J-16 then accelerated and cut across the nose of the P-8, settling in front of the P-8 at very close distance,”Mr Marles said.
“At that moment, it then released a bundle of chaff, which contains small pieces of aluminium, some of which were ingested into the engine of the P-8 aircraft.
“Quite obviously, this is very dangerous.”
The Australian government has raised its concerns about the incident with the Chinese government.