Chinese Pilot Recruitment Probe Spreads


The governments of France, Australia and Canada have joined the U.K. investigating whether their retired military pilots are helping to train Chinese pilots. All three powers have warned their former employees, all of whom swore an oath to defend their respective country, that helping the People’s Liberation Army gain the upper hand over Western allies likely makes them criminals. 

Earlier this week, the U.K. confirmed it was getting in touch with about 30 ex-RAF pilots who had been approached by a South African company with an offer of about $250,000 a year to train the PLA’s finest. France, Australia and Canada have not yet confirmed their former personnel have taken the bait but they are looking into it. “We are aware of these reports, and we are looking into this further with federal partners,” Canada’s Department of National Defence told Global News. “The Security of Information Act applies to both current and former members, and non-compliance with the Act could result in serious consequences,” said Department of National Defence spokesperson Daniel Le Bouthillier.

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  1. Whole can of worms to open.
    There are not many former fighter pilots prepared to fly civilian airlines, (even if they could, some have difficulty with the whole ATP thing, especially paying for it.)
    In France the civil defence relies on ex military helicopter pilots, but they are sometimes unhappy at being paid the same as the nurses they fly. If they leave, the queue to take their place stretches round the block.
    Le Figaro spoke to one pilot who had been approached, and he said he was promised a seat in a J11, the Chinese rip-off of the Sukhoi 29, eventually he refused, but videos circulate on-line of another Frenchman after crash of a J10 with his student.
    For the army the whole mercenary trip pretty much dried up with changes to the law and a few high-profile trails, even if the people concerned tried to spin it as working to spread democracy and fluffy kittens through the world.
    My guess is that it will not stop until there are a few pilots in the dock in high profile trials, but surprise, surprise, it is the last things the air forces involved (who know exactly what is going on) want.
    Like the Vatican in sex cases, they carry on as if it never happens.

  2. Lest we forget, the US military has been training foreign pilots at the 81st Fighter Squadron at Moody AFB Georgia, the 6th Special Operations Squadron and 711th Special Operations Squadron at Duke Airfield, Florida. Heck, take a guess at how many foreign pilot overall have trained in the USA even after September 11th, 2001?

    Point being is that this goes on all the time in the USA so why would the UK suddenly be “shocked” by their people also training foreign pilots?

  3. Another can of worms… Are there pilots who have been driven out of their respective air forces for not complying with covid mandates, who just want to continue to fly fighter jets and will do so for whomever gives them the opportunity?

    • Failure to obey orders is pretty serious. If a serviceman won’t obey orders to get a shot, what other orders might he decide to not obey? With Navy Corpsman on either side of me, injecting God only knows what into my arms, it never crossed my mind to think that I could refuse one, to get out of active duty.

      • That’s pretty simplistic. We now know that much of the justification for the mandates was false, and it looks like the US government knew that it likely was beforehand and suppressed it. Given that there are known side effects now, and LOTS of concern over more to be found, it turns out the order to get the shot was pretty much illegal.

        Since we have soldiers on partial disability now from shots already, maybe it’s time we put these policies under more scrutiny?