Chinese navy vessel points laser at Australian aircraft

On February 19, the Australian defense department confirmed that a P-8A Poseidon detected a laser illuminating the aircraft while in flight over Australia’s northern approaches within its exclusive economic zone on February 17.

The laser was detected as emanating from a People’s Liberation Army – Navy (PLA-N) vessel.  The vessel, in company with another PLA-N ship, was sailing east through the Arafura Sea at the time of the incident. Both ships have since transited through the Torres Strait and are in the Coral Sea.

Illumination of the aircraft by the Chinese vessel is a serious safety incident.  Acts like this have the potential to endanger lives.

The action is strongly condemned as being unprofessional and unsafe military conduct. 

Image credit: Australian government.  A Headquarters Joint Operations Command storyboard depicting the movements of a PLA-N Luyang-class guided missile destroyer and a PLA-N Yuzhao-class amphibious transport dock vessel, including their passage into the Arafura Sea and through the Torres Strait into the Coral Sea. Note the lasing incident against a Royal Australian Air Force P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft that occurred on 17 February 2022.
Image credit: Australian government.  A PLA-N Yuzhao-class amphibious transport dock vessel transits through the Torres Strait on 18 February 2022.
Image credit: Australian government. A PLA-N Luyang-class guided missile destroyer (left) and a PLA-N Yuzhao-class amphibious transport dock vessel leave the Torres Strait and enter the Coral Sea on 18 February 2022.

Top image credit: Australian government.  A PLA-N Luyang-class guided missile destroyer leaves the Torres Strait and enters the Coral Sea on 18 February 2022.

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