Australia’s Poseidon Spies On China Warships, But Quickly Complains When The Chinese Navy Retaliated With A Laser

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Feb 21 2022
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When China sent two warships – Type 052D destroyer “Hefei” and Type 071 amphibious ship “Jinggangshan” – to deliver aid to Tonga and the Solomon Islands, they had to sail through the Arafura Sea between New Guinea and Australia. The Chinese Navy also knew that the Australian military would not let them pass by without some sort of surveillance or tracking.


After all, the relations between both countries are at its lowest. As expected, Australia sent a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft to spy on the Chinese ships. The Boeing-made military surveillance plane was designed to operate in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare. But the Chinese warships were ready with a simple retaliation option – laser beam.


On Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison went ballistic, demanding Beijing to explain the “dangerous” and “reckless” act of using a laser to “illuminate” the Australian Poseidon. The United States’ “deputy sheriff” in the Asia-Pacific region has even demanded a full investigation over the laser incident, after releasing photographs of the Chinese vessels sailing close to Australia’s north coast.

China Warship Fire Laser

However, China has defended its action. As if telling the Morrison to stop crying like a baby in the game, China said Australia’s version of story was half-baked at best. Beijing accused Canberra of dropping a Sonobuoy, a sonar device used to detect submarines, near the Chinese ships – suggesting that a submarine was escorting the Chinese vessels on its journey.


The Chinese defence ministry has similarly released its own photos, accusing that it was Australia who demonstrated provocative behaviour when the Poseidon spy plane flew as close as 4 kilometres from the Chinese warships on February 17, forcing it to fire up laser beam as a warning. Beijing had insisted that its vessels abided by international law.


Not only Morrison, mad and furious, has condemned the Chinese Navy as unprofessional, but also accused China of being a bully. Beijing said Canberra was unhappy that China was providing help to other countries near Australia, hence was finding ways to discredit China. It also mocked how Australia’s largest warship, the HMAS Adelaide, suffered power failures when conducting humanitarian operations in Tonga.

Australian Poseidon Targeted by Chinese Navy Laser

China also lectured Australia that it was a normal procedure for a warship to use a laser range finder if an aircraft got to close to a vessel. In fact, all modern warships are equipped with lasers. However, it’s also true that pointing a laser is also an act of “painting a target” before firing a weapon. That explains why it had terrified the Aussie Poseidon as it could not tell whether it was about to be shot down.


Hilariously, China has taken a page out of the U.S. playbook when it said the Chinese warships were sailing in international waters. The U.S. always claims that its warships were conducting a freedom of navigation in the South China Sea when criticized by China. While Australia has accused China of sailing within its exclusive economic zone, it did not respond militarily as if there had been an intrusion.


Of course, the Chinese was sending a message with its warships in the Australian backyard. Canberra is not the only one who knows how to send warships or submarines to the South China Sea to provoke Beijing. China can likewise send its assets to the nearby Australian waters and threaten its national security. In truth, Canberra has no one to blame but itself.

China Warship Fire Laser At Australia Poseidon

AUKUS, the latest trilateral military alliance between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, was a foolish move that provided the justification for the Chinese to allocate more resources to target Australia. The Aussie’s decision to acquire nuclear-powered submarines have also increased military tension between both countries, so much so China sees Australia as a threat.


The latest act of using military-grade laser to irritate the Australian Air Force could be done to test the military response from the land Down Under.  As the Chinese Navy becomes bigger in size, Australia has presented itself as the testing ground as China expands its naval capabilities beyond its claims in the South China Sea. This is not the first time the Aussie has been blinded by laser.


In 2019, Australian navy pilots claim that they were forced to land their helicopters after lasers were aimed at them during a military exercise over the South China Sea. However, Canberra could not determine if the lasers originated from Chinese fishing boats were accidentally unleashed by startled fishermen or if they were part of a coordinated move to disrupt the Australian exercise.

Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison

While a military grade laser could destroy radar equipment and blind the aircraft’s pilot, China has reportedly developed “Star Wars” laser weapons. Lasers could be used to disable or shoot down air-to-air missiles or even destroy aircraft or ballistic missiles, depending on how powerful the laser is. Last year, the U.S. expressed its concerns over China and Russia’s laser weapons and electronic jammers.


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