Just picture this: you’re in a helicopter flying over the South China Sea, and all of a sudden, a Chinese fighter jet comes way too close and even shoots flares at you. Well, that’s exactly what happened to a Canadian military helicopter recently. It was a very dangerous situation that could have ended really badly.
What Went Down
Here’s the deal: a Canadian helicopter was out there searching for a submarine in the South China Sea. In just one day, it had two super scary run-ins with Chinese fighter jets. These fighter jets got as close as 100 feet to the helicopter, and that’s seriously risky business.
What Was the Big Risk
When these fighter jets came so close, they shot out flares, which could have hit the helicopter’s rotor blades or engines. That would have been a terrible disaster.
While it’s not unusual for Chinese aircraft to get close to regular planes, it’s pretty rare for them to act this way toward a helicopter.
What the Canadians Were Up To
The Canadian helicopter was on a mission to find a submarine they knew was somewhere in the South China Sea. And during this mission is when these close encounters with the Chinese fighter jets happened.
The Pilot’s Side of the Story
Major Rob Millen, the pilot of the Canadian helicopter during the first encounter, shared that the Chinese fighter jets were just way too close. They even circled around the helicopter, making it a really dangerous situation. So, he had to lower the helicopter to 200 feet, which isn’t the best for the helicopter but was much safer.
The Bigger Picture
You should know that China claims a lot of the South China Sea as its own, but many other countries disagree. This area is super important for international trade, with lots of ships passing through. To show that the South China Sea is for everyone, Western countries often do what’s called freedom of navigation exercises.
The End Result
The Canadian helicopter kept on with its mission, even after these hair-raising encounters with the Chinese fighter jets. The helicopter was part of a group exercise called Noble Caribou. It was patrolling the South China Sea with US, Australian, Japanese, and New Zealand naval ships, but these encounters happened when the helicopter was all by itself.
Making sure military aircraft are safe in the South China Sea is a big concern. No one wants to have such close calls in the future. Countries need to talk about these issues to make sure everything goes smoothly in that area.
At the moment, China hasn’t said anything about these incidents.