A Royal Australian Air Force P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft was intercepted by a Chinese J-16 fighter in international airspace above the South China Sea region.  

During the interception, which took place on May 26, 2022, the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) fighter engaged in a dangerous maneuver “which posed a safety threat to the P-8 aircraft and its crew,” the Australian Department of Defence reported on June 5, 2022. 

Speaking to local channel 9News, Australia's recently appointed Defence Minister, Richard Marles explained that the Chinese J-16 positioned itself ahead of the patroller’s nose before releasing chaff, a countermeasure made of aluminum-coated fiberglass intended to deceive radar targeting. Some of the fragments were ingested into the engine of the P-8 aircraft, the minister explained. 

A formal diplomatic complaint was sent to the Chinese authorities by the Australian government.  

It is the second time in a week that a western government expressed concerns about the behavior of a PLAAF fighter. On June 1, 2022, the Canadian Armed Forces said its United Nations-sanctioned CP-140 Aurora air patrols around North Korea were buzzed by Chinese planes in ways that “did not adhere to international air safety norms”. 

Aircraft of China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force have been buzzing Canadian aircraft with disregard for safety, the Canadian Armed Forces claim.