SKY NEWS - Deborah Haynes - OCT 18, 2022
All British former service personnel, who have accepted jobs to train Chinese military pilots, "are almost certainly enhancing China's military knowledge and capability," an official has said.
China has recruited dozens of former British military pilots to teach the Chinese armed forces how to defeat western warplanes and helicopters in a "threat to UK interests", officials have revealed.
One official said some 30 mainly ex-fast jet but also some helicopter pilots - lured by annual salaries of around £240,000 - are currently in China training pilots for the People's Liberation Army, in what a defence analyst described as a stunning breach of security.
A retired senior Royal Air Force officer said: "Wow… that is appalling. What were they thinking?"
Beijing is actively trying to hire many more serving and former military pilots and other specialists from across the RAF, the Royal Navy and the British Army as well as personnel from other western nations, the western official said.
The situation is so grave, the Ministry of Defence's Defence Intelligence service on Tuesday issued a "threat alert" to warn serving and former military personnel against such approaches.
Armed Forces Minister James Heappey told Sky News' Kay Burley the recruitment of UK pilots to train Chinese counterparts had been a concern within the Ministry of Defence "for a number of years".
Personnel already in China have been approached and advised against continuing such work, he said.
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