Australia’s Department of Defence has confirmed that a P-8A Poseidon detected a laser illuminating the aircraft while in flight over Australia’s northern approaches on Thursday.
The laser was detected as emanating from a People’s Liberation Army – Navy (PLA-N) vessel. Illumination of the aircraft by the Chinese vessel is a serious safety incident, Defence said in a brief statement.
“Acts like this have the potential to endanger lives. We strongly condemn unprofessional and unsafe military conduct.”
“These actions could have endangered the safety and lives of the ADF personnel. Such actions are not in keeping with the standards we expect of professional militaries,” the Department said.
The vessel, in company with another PLA-N ship, 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.