first published on March 4, 2020 by Funker
The US Navy warned China “You don’t want to play laser tag with us” after a Chinese navy destroyer engaged a P-8A Poseidon multi-mission maritime aircraft with a weapons-grade laser over international waters around March 1st.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday stated that a formal protest was filed as the incident violates the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea, a multilateral agreement reached at the 2014 Western Pacific Naval Symposium.
“The laser, which was not visible to the naked eye, was captured by a sensor onboard the P-8A,” Pacific Fleet stated. “Weapons-grade lasers could potentially cause serious harm to aircrew and mariners, as well as ship and aircraft systems.”
According to reports, this is not the first incident regarding China’s use of military lasers against the US military. The Department of Defense stated that the Chinese military operating out of their base in Djibouti fired military-grade lasers at a C-130 aircraft in 2018, which resulted in eye injuries of the crew.
The Chinese Navy has been tasting its tactical laser prototype developed for land and naval applications. It is designed for air defense and close-in defense to replace surface-to-air missiles. Their laser is believed to a knock-off of the AN/SEQ-3 Laser Weapon System or XN-1 LaWS, developed by the US Navy.