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What can the UK do to stop former pilots helping China?

24th October 2022 - 14:00 GMT | by Norbert Neumann in London

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While the news that ex-RAF aviators have been working for China has captured the headlines, ironically the UK still struggles to train its own pilots. (Photo: UK Crown Copyright)

While new legislations and penalties may help deter some former Royal Air Force pilots from training Chinese personnel, the UK should realise it has played a role in alienating its retirees and needs to better look after its people, experts say.

As many as 30 former RAF pilots have been recruited by China to train its air force how to fight against Western fighter jets and helicopters, recent media reports have revealed.

The retired UK personnel are being used to help understand the way in which Western planes and pilots operate, information which could be vital in the event of a conflict. 

The pilots involved have experience and knowledge of Eurofighter Typhoons, Jaguars, AV-8B Harriers and Tornados but not with the F-35.

Officials claim that Beijing has persuaded the retired pilots with lucrative contracts that included £240,000 ($271,000) annual salaries.

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Norbert Neumann

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Norbert Neumann


Norbert is the Aviation, Military Training & Simulation reporter at Shephard Media. Before joining Shephard in …

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