If ever a missile accidentally strikes a passenger aircraft during test launching, it could have been a complete human disaster. Yet, last week, a commercial aircraft was captured appearing on the trajectory of an advancing missile over the sky of the South China Sea.
The tape was shared on Twitter by Airbus captain John Carter, who is also a pilot of the Helicopter Search and Rescue, or SAR.
The moment was recorded by one of his colleagues at an unidentified foreign airline. He said they were hovering over the South China Sea when the Air Traffic Control urgently directed them to immediately turn left 90 degrees. It is believed that a ballistic missile has just taken off from the Chinese military’s submarine.
As the plane followed the direction, Carter said, [quote]“To their bewilderment, they spotted an SLBM [Submarine-launched ballistic missile] emerging from the sea below their previously intended flight path!”
At the end of the video, the passenger plane was able to edge out of the deadly path.
Our channel has yet to verify the information provided by Carter.
In March, U.S. Indo-Pacific commander Admiral John Aquilino said that at least three of China’s disputed South China Sea islands have been completely militarized. Speaking with the Associated Press, Aquilino added that China has equipped the islands with anti-ship and anti-aircraft missile systems, laser and jamming devices, and fighter jets.
Aquilino said, [quote], “I think over the past 20 years we’ve witnessed the largest military buildup since World War II by the PRC [People’s Republic of China]. They have advanced all their capabilities and that buildup of weaponization is destabilizing to the region,” .
He said the islands could increase China’s military potential beyond their continental borders. It could also threaten all nations who operate in the vicinity and all the international sea and airspace.
China built island outposts on coral atolls about a decade ago to bolster its massive territorial claims over virtually the entire South China Sea. This has overlapped with the special economic zone of the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Brunei.
The U.S. on May 12 pledged ASEAN countries a 150 million dollar package for programs such as marine cooperation and clean energy. The largest payout was 60 million dollars, which is dedicated to supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific.