'Chinese Maritime Militia' Launches Laser Attacks Against US Military Pilots In Pacific Ocean

Pilots of American military aircraft operating over the western Pacific Ocean have been targeted by lasers more than 20 times in recent months, US officials told The Wall Street Journal, following similar incidents in which Chinese nationals used lasersagainst American fighter pilots operating over Djibouti.

In April, the Pentagon issued a NOTAM, or “Notice to Airmen” warning of “unauthorized laser activity” resulting in minor injuries to an unspecified number of pilots over Djibouti. The lasers originated from a Chinese military base in the African country, just 8.3 miles from the American base.

Now officials are reporting similar laser attacks in the East China Sea, where the People’s Liberation Army Navy and Chinese commercial vessels operate. Multiple officials told the WSJ that lasers were directed at American military aircraft from fishing vessels and shore.

There have been more than two-dozen incidents in the region since September 2017, officials said. Attacks are becoming more frequent, as the perpetrators are using a wide variety of laser frequency bands.

While it is unclear who exactly is behind the attacks, it is interesting to note, Beijing trains and provides financial subsidies to fishing vessels operating in the East China Sea as what officials call China’s “maritime militia.”

As a deterrence, China’s maritime militia [civilian operated fishing vessels] are sailing through the East China Sea with laser pointers — striking low-flying American warplanes.

In these incidents, commercial-grade lasers are being used, as opposed to the military-grade lasers used against American pilots in Djibouti. Commercial or military, these beams of light can temporarily blind pilots and in some cases cause severe eye damage.

Unbeknownst too many, China has been equipping its military forces with blinding laser weapons in an apparent violation of a provision of the United Nations 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. These weapons include the BBQ-905 Laser Dazzler Weapon, the WJG-2002 Laser Gun, the PY132A Blinding Laser Weapon, and the PY131A Blinding Laser Weapon.

The sophistication of these lasers attacks implies that Beijing could be sponsoring a hybrid deterrence system using fishing vessels armed with lasers that could be coordinated at American warplanes with radar.

In response, the Pentagon is ramping up the procurement of anti-laser protective eyewear for pilots. Each unit will cost the taxpayers around $500 to $2,500 per unit but will ensure that pilots are immune to lasers

As for the Chinese military and fishing vessels launching a series of coordinated laser attacks against American pilots from Africa to the East China Sea, well, this is not good because the Pentagon is itching for a fight to level China’s weaponized islands in the South China Sea.


vato poco Joe Trader Fri, 06/22/2018 - 19:33 Permalink

wouldn't it be weird if fishing vessels operating in the east china sea, what china refers to as it's maritime militia, started having mysterious catastrophic hull failures and sinking?

wang chung thinks he's being crevver. he is not. perhaps another $$500MM in punitive tariffs on chinese exports might help him get his mind right

In reply to by Joe Trader

p4424119 Big Creek Rising Fri, 06/22/2018 - 22:27 Permalink

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In reply to by Big Creek Rising

RedBaron616 beemasters Sat, 06/23/2018 - 07:11 Permalink

Return fire WITH fire. Get our own lasers and fire at their planes. Guaranteed for them to stop quickly.

I hear about Trump being tough, blah, blah, blah. Well, here's his chance to prove it. I would first send a warning directly to Bejing that ONE MORE LASER being shot at our planes from your military bases will be met with the same treatment of their planes. Guaranteed, NOTHING will happen. The Red Chinese only respect force.

In reply to by beemasters

EddieLomax beemasters Sat, 06/23/2018 - 04:12 Permalink

You need to keep in mind here that China are effectively trying to annex an area of internationally accessible ocean that is used by many other nations and often far closer to them then China.

If this was Chinese territory they'd be intercepting and shooting down any US aircraft, the fact is that it isn't and they know it.

In reply to by beemasters

LetThemEatRand tmosley Fri, 06/22/2018 - 19:49 Permalink

I haven't seen any indication that pilots were blinded.  And the "war crime" referenced in the article talks about specific weapons (that probably do blind you).  Not enough information in this article to really know, but let's not start any wars over some assholes shining laser pointers at planes, which is what I'm getting from this article.

In reply to by tmosley

tmosley LetThemEatRand Fri, 06/22/2018 - 19:58 Permalink

There wouldn't be a war over that. There would be a warning shot and maybe a single fishing vessel sunk before it stopped.

Shining a laser at an aircraft is a lot like pointing a gun at a soldier. Maybe its a BB gun, or maybe it is real, but either way, you are going to learn real fast that it was a bad idea or that the soldier isn't for real and you can just walk all over him.

In reply to by LetThemEatRand

LetThemEatRand tmosley Fri, 06/22/2018 - 20:08 Permalink

That would be fine with me if a Chinese ship in American waters did it, though I would hope the Coast Guard would try to arrest the vessel and crew first.  What is going on here is China and maybe some fishing vessels telling the US to fuck off on their patrols half-way across the world in the China Sea.  Kind of like if the US army camped outside your house and you shined a laser pointer at them and they promptly blew your ass up for daring to defy them.

Can you remind me which American interests we're protecting with these patrols?

In reply to by tmosley

Oldwood LetThemEatRand Fri, 06/22/2018 - 21:09 Permalink

That's like saying all of our government's actions are constitutional because SCOTUS hasn't struck them down.

Believe it or not, we are not necessarily going to war over every provocation. China has territorial disputes that if taken by the rules would have brought us to war years ago.

The game is to see how far they can take it before we react.

In reply to by LetThemEatRand

EddieLomax LetThemEatRand Sat, 06/23/2018 - 04:15 Permalink

"Can you remind me which American interests we're protecting with these patrols?"

Just the ability to trade freely with 1/2 the nations of the world via international waters.  America is unique in that like Russia it is a land power, but its also a whole continent as if North America is a island. 

So it also has to be a naval power, no other country in the world I can think of has to be both (UK's a naval power, Germany a land, Russia land etc), when these countries try to be both they bankrupt themselves hence the UK always keeps a small land army outside of war.

In reply to by LetThemEatRand

Dickweed Wang tmosley Fri, 06/22/2018 - 19:52 Permalink

. . . the Pentagon is ramping up the procurement of anti-laser protective eyewear for pilots. Each unit will cost the taxpayers around $500 to $2,500 . . . 


Well there's the underlying reason we're hearing about this. Moar money for the M.I.C. for "anti-laser" gear. What will they come up with next?

In reply to by tmosley

bahian silverer Sat, 06/23/2018 - 09:34 Permalink

Yes, that's why they have heavy handed censorship of the internet and a big gulag with prison factories. The Communist Party trusts deeply the populace. They wouldn't spy on their citizens or take away their rights to free expression, assembly and electing their representatives. Go move there wise guy, criticize Xi publicly and see how bad the West is in comparison.

In reply to by silverer