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A Chinese military aircraft purposefully launched flares in the vicinity of an Australian Navy helicopter, endangering the helicopter!

Australia has alleged that a Chinese fighter jet discharged flares in the vicinity of a naval helicopter last weekend in the international waters of the Yellow Sea. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese condemned the action as “completely unacceptable.”

According to the Defense Ministry in Canberra, the Australian MH-60R Seahawk helicopter was conducting patrols to enforce United Nations sanctions on North Korea when the incident occurred. This action, Canberra stated, jeopardized the lives of the helicopter crew.

The Chinese jet discharged flares approximately 300 meters (984 feet) ahead of the Seahawk helicopter and around 60 meters (197 feet) above it.

Flares pose a significant threat to helicopters as they can potentially cause damage to rotor blades upon impact or if they are sucked into the engines.

This incident adds to a series of confrontations occurring in international waters involving China’s military and other nations. It comes at a time when Canberra and Beijing are attempting to mend relations following several years marked by trade disputes and strained diplomatic ties.

The incident mirrored a previous encounter in late October between a Chinese fighter jet and a Canadian military helicopter in the South China Sea, during which flares were similarly discharged in the helicopter’s vicinity.

Prior contentious and potentially hazardous incidents involving Australia and China include an encounter near Japan in November last year. Australia reported that a Chinese warship employed sonar waves to intimidate Australian Navy divers who were attempting to remove fishing nets entangled in the propellers of the frigate HMAS Toowoomba. This confrontation resulted in minor injuries to the divers.


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