Friday, March 24, 2023
HomeMilitary ContractsChina Recruiting Former R.A.F. Pilots to Train Army Pilots., U.K. Says

China Recruiting Former R.A.F. Pilots to Train Army Pilots., U.K. Says

LONDON — China has recruited as many as 30 retired British military pilots, including some who flew sophisticated fighter jets, to train pilots in the People’s Liberation Army, according to Britain’s Defense Ministry. A senior official said the ministry worried that the practice could threaten British national security.
Britain said it was working with allies to try to stop the practice, which the official said dated to before the coronavirus pandemic but had gained momentum in recent months. The recruited British pilots, the senior official said, included former members of the Royal Air Force and other branches of the armed forces.
None of the retired pilots are suspected of violating the Official Secrets Act, the British law that covers espionage, sabotage and other crimes. But the official said that Britain was determined to tighten the controls on retired service members to guard against training activities that could contravene espionage laws.
“We are taking decisive steps to stop Chinese recruitment schemes attempting to head hunt serving and former U.K. Armed Forces pilots to train People’s Liberation Army personnel in the People’s Republic of China,” said a spokesman for the Defense Ministry, who, under department rules, spoke on the condition that he not be named.



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