Another accident involving the US military

Hardly a week goes by without the report of an accident provoked by the US military. This time, a Chinese aircraft has crashed after a US spy plane, an EP-3, crashed into it in mid-air over the South China Sea. The Chinese pilot is reported missing, feared dead. The EP-3, which was being intercepted by Chinese fighter planes as it neared Chinese airspace, suddenly changed course and crashed into one of the Chinese aircraft. The US aircraft itself was damaged and made an emergency landing at Hainan Island airport. The US authorities request the Chinese to regard the EP-3 as sovereign US territory (in China) and therefore ask the Chinese authorities not to board it. The 24 US crew are reportedly being held by the Chinese authorities for interrogation. The accident takes place at a particularly delicate time. Washington is planning to sell sophisticated weapons systems to Taiwan, a sale which China opposes strongly. The fact that a US spy aircraft was flying over such a heavily militarised area of China is not surprising. The practice is called “parrying”. An aircraft moves towards the airspace of the “target” country to force it to switch on its radar defence system. Sophisticated electronic gadgetry in the spy plane then locates the defence systems. This practice is not illegal if performed in international waters. However, the US military forces have a catastrophic record of disasters. Since they are so obviously so accident-prone, one would invite them in future to remain inside their own territory and if damage is to be inflicted, let it be on the tax-payers who keep them employed. The prolific number of accidents wrought by the United States Armed Forces raises doubts as to the competence of its personnel. Is it a case of incompetence – or stupidity?


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