The Pentagon formally complained to the Chinese government on Thursday, accusing Chinese nationals of pointing lasers at US military aircraft near Djibouti in east Africa multiple times in the last few weeks.
"They are very serious incidents ... We have formally démarched the Chinese government and we've requested the Chinese investigate these incidents," Dana White, a Pentagon spokeswoman, told reporters.
The Chinese Defense Ministry, which has a military base just miles from the US's Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, denied the accusations.
China's naval base in Djibouti, which opened in 2017, is Beijing's first overseas military base.
In past weeks, there have been at least four incidents in which US service members have been targeted with military-grade or non military-grade lasers originating near a Chinese military installation in Djibouti, according to The Wall Street Journal. There have also been additional incidents occurring within US Pacific Command.
Since 2015, China has had at least four different kinds of blinding laser weapons: the BBQ-905 Laser Dazzler Weapon, the WJG-2002 Laser Gun, the PY132A Blinding Laser Weapon and the PY131A Blinding Laser Weapon.
The four weapons "look like oversized assault rifles or shoulder-fired grenade launchers," according to The War Zone, which possibly violate the United Nations Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons that Beijing signed in 1998, according to the Free Beacon.
In one of the most recent incidents, two C-130 pilots became dizzy and saw "rings," but are recovering, The Journal reported.
"These incidents are not surprising as they represent an act just short of war, but indicate gross, intentional negligence, as well as complete disregard for aviation safety and international norms," Trey Meeks, a principal at the Asia Group research firm, told The Journal. "I would certainly view it as harassment."
US pilots have begun wearing eye protection or visors for protection, and are even planning their flights around Chinese military flights, The Journal reported.
The US military has also issued a Notice to Airmen, which the Federal Aviation Administration sent out in April too, about "multiple lazing events involving a high power laser" in Djibouti, and to "use extreme caution when transiting near this area," according to the Diplomat.
The incidents come as relations between the US and China continue to decline, with President Donald Trump imposing tariffs on Chinese goods and restricting certain US technology exports.
China and Russia have also recently forged a military partnership, which China's defense minister said was to "let the Americans know about the close ties between the armed forces of China and Russia."
Source link : http://www.businessinsider.com/these-are-the-4-blinding-laser-weapons-that-china-has-developed-2018-5
Publish date : 2018-05-04 19:36:01