It is late May and an Australian surveillance plane flies through the azure skies above the South China Sea. The crew of the aircraft are on a routine surveillance mission in international airspace. They do not expect trouble.
Suddenly, a Chinese fighter jet intercepts them.
It launches flares, and cuts fast and close across the nose of the Australian aircraft. The fighter then deploys its chaff, a bundle of tiny metal strips typically used as a countermeasure to disrupt an enemy’s radar systems.
The innumerable little shards of aluminum are immediately sucked up into the engines of the surveillance plane, damaging the aircraft, putting its crew at severe risk, and cutting the Australian mission short….