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Thursday, May 23, 2024

According to the United Kingdom, China is actively seeking out former Royal Air Force pilots to train its own army pilots

According to the British Defense Ministry, China has reportedly hired as many as 30 veteran British military pilots to teach pilots for the People’s Liberation Army. Some of these pilots operated advanced fighter planes during their time in the British military. A senior source said the government concerned that the practise may damage British national security.

According to the source, the practise dates back to before the coronavirus epidemic but has gained pace in the recent months. Britain has said that it is working with partners to attempt to put an end to the practise. According to the senior official, the recently hired British pilots include individuals who have previously served in several branches of the armed services, including the Royal Air Force.

There is no evidence to suggest that any of the retired pilots broke the Official Secrets Act, which is a piece of British legislation that addresses espionage, sabotage, and other offences. On the other hand, the official said that Britain was resolved to increase the amount of oversight that is exercised over former military personnel in order to prevent training activities that would violate espionage laws.

However, Britain does not seem to possess any legal mechanisms that would allow it to prevent retired pilots from taking training contracts offered by the Chinese military. According to the source, the contracts are lucrative (about $270,000 per year) and are especially appealing to pilots who departed from active service some years ago because of the high salary potential.

According to the official, China has outsourced the responsibility of recruitment to a third party, namely a private test flying school located in South Africa.

The British officer did not disclose which allies had been engaged in the investigation of the practise; however, he did imply that the pilots of those allies had also been targets for recruiting.

None of the pilots that the Chinese hired had any experience flying the F-35, which is the most modern and costly fighter plane that the British fleet currently has. According to the official, though, some of them have experience piloting older-generation jets such as the Typhoon, Harrier, Jaguar, and Tornado. He claimed that the Chinese pilots were keen to learn about British and Western military strategies and procedures, despite the fact that the British pilots teach their Chinese counterparts on Chinese aircraft.

Relations between Britain and China have significantly worsened in recent years, with the government in London condemning Beijing’s crackdown on pro-democracy campaigners in Hong Kong, which was once a British colony. This has led to an increase in tensions between the two countries. On the basis that it may compromise national security, the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson decided to prohibit the procurement of equipment for the high-speed broadband network that was manufactured by Huawei, the Chinese telecoms giant, in July of 2020.

In Mr. Johnson’s administration, China was labelled a “systemic competitor,” which reflected the goal of his government to continue commercial ties while also criticising Beijing’s violations of human rights. This desire was a result of Mr. Johnson’s administration. However, the current Prime Minister of Britain, Liz Truss, has taken measures to further stiffen the country’s attitude. In the most recent version of a military and foreign policy review, she is likely to label China as a “threat” to the United States.

According to the source, China’s attempts to entice pilots have recently picked up after experiencing a slowdown in recruiting during the months when travel prohibitions were in place due to the epidemic.

“All serving and former personnel are already subject to the Official Secrets Act,” said the spokesman for the Department of Defense. “And we are reviewing the use of confidentiality contracts and nondisclosure agreements across the Department of Defense,” he continued, “while the new national security bill will create additional tools to tackle contemporary security challenges — including this one.”

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