Military Aviation

Retired German fighter pilots are providing military training to Chinese air force pilots

German media outlets ZDF and Spiegel reported that a number of fighter pilots from Germany who have retired from active service are now providing military training to (PRC) People’s Republic of China pilots.

As reported last week by German media outlets ZDF and Spiegel a number of fighter pilots from Germany who have retired from active service are now providing military training to (PRC) People’s Republic of China pilots.

According to Alert 5, the matter is said to have been brought up to Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu at the Shangri-la Dialog in Singapore on Jun. 3, 2023 by Germany’s Minister of Defense Boris Pistorius. DPA news agency reported that Pistorius said that Li did not deny the fact that German instructors are teaching his military pilots in China but Li downplayed the significance of the issue. The meeting stretched to more than one hour and Pistorius was quoted as saying that both sides were “very opened” during the conversation and both parties were candied about their difference in opinions.

Alert 5 posted the following Chinese video two years ago.

It was then reported that the clip allegedly showed PLAAF J-10 pilots engaging in dogfights while using callsigns Jaeger and air combat lingo using English. Given the above news, perhaps they were flying with German instructors during that time when the videos were recorded.

According to the news reports, these German pilots had worked for Test Flying Academy of South Africa (TFASA) that has come under scrutiny recently and its chief operating officer, Keith Hartley, is being investigated by the Australian police and his home was searched.

Another former staff of TFASA, Daniel Duggan, is detained in Australia. He was involved in training Chinese military pilots how to land on aircraft carriers. Duggan is a former USMC Harrier pilot.

According to US authorities a T-2 Buckeye aircraft was bought from a US aircraft dealer for the aircraft carrier training, by providing false information that resulted in the US government issuing an export license.

The indictment said the naturalised Australian “provided military training to (PRC) People’s Republic of China pilots” through a “test flying academy” in South Africa between 2010 and 2012.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Duggan has been working in Qingdao, China, since 2017 as the managing director of AVIBIZ Limited, described as “a comprehensive aviation consultancy company with a focus on the fast-growing and dynamic Chinese Aviation Industry”.

Hong Kong company records show AVIBIZ Limited was registered there by Australian passport holder Daniel Edmund Duggan in 2017 and dissolved in 2020.
Duggan is facing possible extradition to the US, which has charged him of breaking US arms control law.

UK too warned dozens of former military pilots to stop working in China or face prosecution on national security grounds under new laws.

Photo credit: Alert 5 YouTube Channel and John Davies – CYOW Airport Watch via Wikipedia

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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