Australian Government Department of Defence can confirm that on 17 February 2022, a P-8A Poseidon detected a laser illuminating the aircraft while in flight over Australia’s northern approaches. The laser was detected as emanating from a People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) vessel. Illumination of the aircraft by the Chinese vessel is a serious safety incident. Acts like this have the potential to endanger lives. Australian Government Department of Defence strongly condemns unprofessional and unsafe military conduct.
These actions could have endangered the safety and lives of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) personnel. Such actions are not in keeping with the standards we expect of professional militaries. The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Luyang-class guided-missile destroyer and a PLAN Yuzhao-class amphibious transport dock vessel, was sailing east through the Arafura Sea at the time of the incident. Both ships have since transited through the Torres Strait and are in the Coral Sea.
The Type 052D destroyer (NATO/OSD Luyang III-class destroyer) is a class of guided-missile destroyers in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy. The Type 052D is a larger variant of the Type 052C; the Type 052D uses a canister-type, instead of revolver-type, vertical launching system (VLS) and has flat-paneled active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. The Type 071 (NATO reporting name: Yuzhao) is a class of Chinese amphibious transport dock ships in service with the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).
The P-8A Poseidon is a modern, potent, and highly reliable aircraft based on the commercially-proven Boeing B737-800. Operated by Royal Australian Air Force No. 11 and No. 292 Squadrons based at RAAF Base Edinburgh, under the command of Number 92 Wing, the aircraft has completed several domestic and operational deployments. With its highly impressive technical attributes, the P-8A Poseidon brings flexibility, responsiveness, and attack capability to the Joint Force in its primary roles of Anti-Submarine Warfare, Anti-Surface Warfare, Maritime Surveillance and Search and Rescue.