After Intercepting Chinese Fighter Jets, Australian Pilots Are Offered Psychological Help

After Intercepting Chinese Fighter Jets, Australian Pilots Are Offered Psychological Help
Australian Pilots Are Offered Psychological Help

Canberra - Australian Air Force (RAAF) pilots were offered psychological assistance after intercepting Chinese fighter jets in the South China Sea. The news was disclosed by RAAF Air Commander Deputy Air Marshal Darren Goldie.

"The mental health of our pilots and people... dealing with things like interceptions or radio challenges... it's important that when we bring them back, we talk to them about the experience," Goldie told the ABC on Sunday.

“The RAAF is keeping pilots informed about what services are available, should they be distracted by the experience they are seeing. Special attention is paid to the welfare of the pilots who are not in the pilot's seat, as they have less control in stressful encounters," he said.

According to Goldie, the preparation of Australian airmen for the mission has also progressed as "we have seen a change in the operational environment" over the South China Sea. Most of this body of water in the Western Pacific Ocean is claimed by Beijing as part of its own territory, despite overlapping claims by Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei.

The United States (US) and its allies, including Australia, have conducted frequent naval and air missions in the South China Sea in recent times, as Washington insists, "the US challenges excessive maritime claims around the world regardless of the identity of the claimant." "There's been a trend recently where we've seen a more aggressive posture," said RAAF Chief Rob Chipman, referring to the actions of the Chinese pilots.

He explained, "When that happens then we raise that issue, raise that concern, through diplomatic channels." Last June, Canberra accused Beijing of carrying out a treacherous intercept, which occurred weeks earlier and saw a Chinese J-16 fighter jet drop a bag of “chaff” into the flight path of an Australian P-8 maritime surveillance aircraft.

The Chinese pilot's move caused shards of aluminum to be sucked into the RAAF plane's engine, according to the Australian military. China's Defense Ministry insists its jet's actions are reasonable and lawful because it is the Australian aircraft that seriously threatens China's sovereignty and security.

"China resolutely opposes any military action by Canberra in the region," China's Defense Ministry said.

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