People’s Liberation Army Navy Destroyer Lases US Navy P-8A while it was flying in airspace above international waters

People’s Liberation Army Navy Destroyer Lased US Navy P-8A while it was flying in airspace above international waters

By Dario Leone
Feb 28 2020
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A People’s Republic of China (PRC) navy destroyer 161 lased a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime on Feb. 17 while it was flying in airspace above international waters approximately 380 miles west of Guam.

A People’s Republic of China (PRC) navy destroyer 161 lased a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft on Feb. 17 while it was flying in airspace above international waters approximately 380 miles west of Guam.

The U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs News Release states:

‘The P-8A was operating in international airspace in accordance with international rules and regulations. The PRC navy destroyer’s actions were unsafe and unprofessional.

Additionally, these acts violate the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES), a multilateral agreement 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 destroyer’s actions were also inconsistent with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between U.S. Department of Defense and the Ministry of National Defense of the PRC regarding rules of behavior for safety of air and maritime encounters.

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.

U.S Navy aircraft routinely fly in the Philippine Sea and have done so for many years. U.S. Navy aircraft and ships will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows.

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 U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

In 2013 the Pelicans of VP-45 began their transition from the P-3C Orion to the P-8A Poseidon, according to the unit website. On Jan. 30, 2014 the Pelicans successfully completed their Conventional Weapons Training Proficiency Inspection (CWTPI). Inspectors from Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing (CPRW) -11 Weapons School judged the proficiency of both Aviation Electronics Technicians (AT) and Aviation Ordnancemen (AO) through the process of wire-checking, uploading and downloading ordnance, such as torpedoes and chaff, on the P-8A aircraft. On Jan. 30, 2014 the Pelicans successfully completed their Conventional Weapons Training Proficiency Inspection (CWTPI). Inspectors from Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing (CPRW) -11 Weapons School judged the proficiency of both aviation electronics technicians (AT) and aviation Ordnancemen (AO) through the process of wire-checking, uploading and downloading ordnance, such as torpedoes and chaff, on the P-8A aircraft.

VP-45 obtained Safe for Flight status following an inspection on Feb. 27 – officially completing their transition to the Navy’s new maritime patrol aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon. In doing so, VP-45 became the Navy’s third operational P-8A squadron, following in the footsteps of VP-16 and VP-5.

People’s Liberation Army Navy Destroyer Lases US Navy P-8A while it was flying in airspace above international waters
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. P-8A Poseidon Air Test and Evaluation Squadron ONE (VX-1) Pioneers, JA955 / 167955. NAS Patuxent River, MD

Photo credit: MC2 Sean Rinner / U.S. Navy


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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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