The Australian Department of Defense (DoD) said one of its surveillance aircraft flying over Australia’s northern waters on Thursday was exposed to a laser beam from a Chinese navy ship, according to AP.

The DoD said in a statement Saturday that the laser targeted the P-8A Poseidon plane from a People’s Liberation Army Navy vessel accompanying another Chinese ship that transited through the Torres Strait. Both ships were now in the Coral Sea, east of Australia.

In a statement Saturday, the Australian DoD said: “Illumination of the aircraft by the Chinese vessel is a serious safety incident,” noting that “We strongly condemn unprofessional and unsafe military conduct. These actions could have endangered the safety and lives of the ADF [Australian Defence Force] personnel.”

China had no immediate comment on Australia’s allegations.

This is not the first time a Chinese warship used lasers on Australian aircraft.

According to a report by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in 2019, Australian pilots conducting military exercises over the South China Sea were subjected to laser attacks fired by China’s maritime militia. As a result, the pilots were forced to land as a precaution.

Weapons-grade lasers can cause serious problems. When aimed at aircraft, they can injure pilots or temporarily blind them—which can present safety risks, particularly when taking off and landing. Besides, it can also damage a variety of ship and aircraft systems.

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