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Former RAF pilots found to be training Chinese counterparts

At a time when political and military tensions with China are at their most fraught in decades, it has emerged that UK and maybe other Western military pilots have been selling their expertise to help train their PLAAF counterparts. (People's Liberation Army Air Force)

Former UK Royal Air Force (RAF) frontline combat pilots have been found to be training their counterparts from the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) in China.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) exposed the practice, informing a number of national media outlets that it had warned 30 former RAF pilots to cease their involvement immediately. The reports suggested that pilots from other Western air arms may also be involved.

According to a number of UK national media outlets that broke the story on 18 October, the MoD said that former RAF officers had been hired to pass on their expertise as fast jet pilots to the PLAAF. However, as they were not exposing sensitive information, the Official Secrets Act has not been broken and the MoD and UK government could only ‘strongly suggest' that the pilots stop their work in China.

While none of the RAF pilots were said to have flown the latest Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning, the reports said that they had experience of recent and current types such as the Panavia Tornado and Eurofighter Typhoon.

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