US Navy P-8A Poseidon Lased by Chinese Warship Near Guam
07:53 AM, February 28, 2020
P-8A Poseidon attached to VP-47 "Golden Swordsmen" during Pacific Griffin biennial exercise conducted in the waters near Guam.
A destroyer belonging to Chinas Peoples Liberation Army Navy lased a US Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft while it was flying in airspace above international waters some 380 miles west of Guam.
The US Pacific Fleet said in a statement Thursday that the incident took place on February 17. “A US Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft was lased by Peoples Republic of China (PRC) navy destroyer 161 on Feb. 17,” the navy said, adding that the P-8A was operating in international airspace in accordance with international rules and regulations.
The laser, which was not visible to the naked eye, was captured by a sensor onboard the P-8A. Weapons-grade lasers could potentially cause serious harm to aircrew and mariners, as well as ship and aircraft systems.
Calling PRC navy destroyers actions as “unsafe” and “unprofessional,” the navy noted that the act violated the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES). The multilateral agreement was reached at the 2014 Western Pacific Naval Symposium to reduce the chance of an incident at sea. CUES specifically addresses the use of lasers that could cause harm to personnel or damage to equipment.
“The destroyers actions were also inconsistent with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between US Department of Defense and the Ministry of National Defense of the PRC regarding rules of behavior for safety of air and maritime encounters,” the statement read.
The P-8A is assigned to VP-45, based out of Jacksonville, Florida, and is forward-deployed to Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan. The squadron conducts routine operations, maritime patrol and reconnaissance in the US 7th Fleet area of operations.
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