Canadian Military Helicopter Intercepted by Chinese Fighters in South China Sea

On November 5, 2023, a CH-148 Cyclone helicopter from the Canadian military was intercepted by Chinese fighters in the South China Sea on three separate occasions. The intercepting aircraft were two J-11 fighters from China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). 


The Canadian helicopter was operating from the HMCS Ottawa, a Halifax-class frigate of the Royal Canadian Navy. These dangerous maneuvers occurred while the helicopter was conducting routine exercises as part of Canada's Indo-Pacific strategy to uphold freedom of navigation in international waters near China. 

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The Canadian Ministry of National Defense reported that during the first encounter, one of the Chinese fighters performed a close proximity maneuver over the Canadian helicopter, creating wake turbulence and forcing the helicopter to take evasive action for its safety. Later, another fighter fired flares directly in front of the helicopter, posing a risk to the helicopter's rotor and air intakes. 

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The Canadian Department of National Defense stated that all interactions took place in international airspace, far from claimed territorial seas and related airspace. This is the second time in less than three weeks that a Canadian aircraft has been intercepted by Chinese jets. On October 16, 2023, a Canadian CP-140 Aurora maritime patrol aircraft was intercepted by several Chinese fighters.

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