Chinese Lasers Injure U.S. Military Pilots

Dazzlers

via Wikimedia Commons

Dazzlers

China’s first military base overseas in Djibouti is using lethal lasers to attack and harm US military aircraft in the area.  Two US pilots have already been injured and the US has started taking preliminary force. The US is also starting to launch a diplomatic protest with Beijing.

Originated from a Chinese base, minor eye injuries occured to an aircrew by a military grade laser beam.. These officers in the C-130 could have caused the aircraft to crash and fall, resulting in way more harm and disputes over who should take the blame. According to CNN, two military officials said, “the issue was of major concern as such activity can cause major accidents.” These laser beams or also know as ‘dazzlers’ have light beams that can travel great distances and can even illuminate an aircraft and temporarily or permanently blind pilots.

Dazzlers create a green beam that is used to warn people of danger or to stay away. However, in the wrong hands, these lights can be misused to create accidents and crashes. Most models, which are designed for military use, can work at a distance from 300-500 meters in the daytime and up to a 1000 meters at night. This weapon costs $600 ever since China had started making home-made blinding lasers in 2015. Despite people saying these lasers can’t cause permanent damage, at 40 meters a light with only 200 milliwatts causes blindness. However, most dazzlers in 2018 now have 400 milliwatts of power.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying talked about how the US was making false accusations and that people should look at the facts. Later that month, the Chinese media officially went against US defense officials and started accusing the officials of “cooking up phony laser story.” Later a Pentagon spokeswoman Dana W. White said the Pentagon was confident that Chinese national was responsible for the laser beams used on US soldiers. IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly also stated that from multiple intelligence sources, reported beforehand in April that the Chinese navy is suspected of using high power lasers weapons in their base in Djibouti or a naval ship. Jane talked about the use of using lasers to blind pilots has been used since the Cold War when US Navy pilots were attacked by the lasers from Soviet naval ships before attacking.

This act that has been brought upon the US military is a serious problem that can become even more lethal if not stopped now. Pilots are being warned to be on the lookout for these weapons and now the US is using counterintelligence to defend themselves from dazzlers and weapons like them.