June 22, 2024

Brighton Journal

Complete News World

Allies warn former fighter pilots against training Chinese military personnel

Allies warn former fighter pilots against training Chinese military personnel

For years, US officials have accused China of stealing American technology to design and build fighter jets. But while China learned how to build advanced fighters, its pilots couldn’t fly them well.

That may be starting to change, according to US officials.

US intelligence officials and their allies warned on Wednesday that Beijing was intensifying a campaign to lure former fighter pilots from Western countries to train Chinese pilots.

The United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – an intelligence-sharing partnership known as Five Eyes – said in a bulletin that the People’s Liberation Army was trying to leverage “the skills and experience of these individuals” to improve its capabilities. Air operations.

Michael C. said: Casey, the center’s director: “To overcome its shortcomings, the People’s Liberation Army has aggressively recruited Western military talent to train its pilots, using private companies around the world that hide its ties to the PLA and offer recruits exorbitant salaries.” US National Center for Intelligence and Security.

China is building up its air and naval forces, and leaders in Beijing have warned that they may eventually be open to using force to unify their country with Taiwan. U.S. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the findings, say there is no doubt that Chinese fighter pilots appear to be improving.

But officials debate how much of the improvement can be attributed to training by foreign pilots versus the increase in hours Chinese pilots log into domestic training programs.

Officials say China’s efforts to lure pilots to train for the People’s Liberation Army go back years but have intensified. Britain issued a warning in September after strengthening laws against training foreign pilots

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US officials said the Chinese military has established a number of nominally independent training centers in several countries, including South Africa, Kenya, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. They say the recruited pilots were offered the chance to fly in a variety of exotic and advanced aircraft and were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for their services.

While the pilots may not have known at first that they were training the Chinese military, it soon became clear, according to officials familiar with the findings.

Officials did not say how many allied pilots participated in the Chinese military training, but US officials said it could easily reach dozens. Britain reported that at least 30 former British pilots had trained the Chinese army. Three former Canadian pilots, seven from New Zealand and a group from Germany were also accused of training the Chinese military.

In addition to centers in other countries, training also took place in China, according to US officials. In 2022, a Chinese fighter plane crashed and the pilots ejected. A video of the incident shows one of the pilots on the ground, a Westerner who speaks English.

In September, General Charles Brown Jr., then head of the US Air Force but later chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned American pilots against helping the Chinese. “The People’s Liberation Army wants to exploit your knowledge and skills to fill the gaps in their military capabilities.” he wrote in a memo to Air Force service members.

Teaching advanced combat skills to foreign nationals can quickly lead to legal action. In addition to prohibiting arms sales, the Arms Export Control Act also prohibits the training of foreign militaries without permission from the United States government.

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The United States is trying to bring in a former Marine pilot, danielle dugan, On trial for training Chinese pilots.

Mr. Dogan was indicted in 2017, accused of training Chinese pilots in 2010 and 2012. But the indictment was not revealed until 2022, when he was arrested in Australia. Mr. Dogan denies the accusation and opposes his extradition to the United States.

Intelligence officials said the bulletin issued Wednesday was intended to deter current or former service members from participating in the training. Such efforts would “endanger their military colleagues and undermine our national security,” Mr. Casey said.

US officials say China has not only tried to learn US and allied air tactics from former pilots. It has also intensified monitoring of military exercises using drones, balloons and other technology, efforts that have sometimes led to reports of unidentified objects near military bases.

Pentagon officials have attributed some of the puzzling sightings of unidentified objects to relatively ordinary drone technology. They say the surveillance with drones and balloons is part of Beijing’s efforts to learn more about how US fighter jets fly from aircraft carriers and conduct operations.