skip to main content

Canada claims unsafe PLA interception of helicopter

The HMCS Ottawa 's CH-148 helicopter lowers supplies onto the flight deck of the USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) in the South China Sea on 10 September. HMCS Ottawa is currently on deployment in South East Asia as part of Canada's commitment to increase the number of Canadian warships annually deployed to the Indo-Pacific region from two to three, starting from 2023. (US Navy)

Canada's Department of National Defence (DND) has said that Chinese combat jets aggressively intercepted a helicopter operating with the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) over the South China Sea.

In a statement issued on 3 November, the DND said a Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone helicopter operating from HMCS Ottawa (FFH 341) was intercepted by two People's Liberation Army (PLA) Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) J-11 combat aircraft on 29 October.

“Though the initial encounter was safe, two subsequent encounters were deemed unsafe,” the DND said. “With successive passes, one jet eventually conducted a pass over the CH-148 Cyclone helicopter with little separation, causing the helicopter to experience turbulence and take appropriate actions to remain safe.”

According to the DND, another J-11 intercepted the same CH-148 as it conducted a second sortie later in the day. During this second sortie, the J-11 “launched flares directly in front of the helicopter”, the DND said.

“[The] helicopter['s] pilot had to manoeuvre to avoid the flares and reduce the risk of ingesting a flare into the helicopter's rotor and intakes,” the DND said, adding that the helicopter was undamaged during the encounter.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...