Chinese taking photos at Australia’s Avalon defense plane show raise suspicions
A group of Chinese men taking photos at an Australian aeronautics and defense air show has raised suspicions after authorities barred China’s military from attending amid escalating strategic tensions in the region.
An Australian national security expert who suspects three men he saw taking photographs on the first restricted day of the Avalon air show may have been ‘spiing’ is preparing a report for the Ministry of Defense.
Lincoln Parker is a ‘deep tech’ defense innovation consultant who works closely with Australia’s Five Eyes military technology allies.
Mr Parker said the trio took numerous photos of planes and attendees at the show, which Australia has banned China and Russia’s military from attending.
Officially named Australian International Airshow & Aerospace and Defense Exposition 2023, it showcases a wide array of new defense technologies, including a new Australian-made deadly drone capable of unmanned air-to-ground strikes against enemy targets.
The three young Chinese attended the air show on the first day of restricted access and took many long-lens photos of the crowd and the plane
The three men pulled out a large camera and photographed the show and the attending crowd, which included 22 service chiefs from other countries and Australia
The Australian Ministry of Defense has said that neither China nor Russia have been invited to participate in Avalon 2023 due to escalating strategic tensions in the Indo-Pacific and Ukraine wars.
RAAF Chief Air Marshal Rob Chipman told attendees – who included international defense and government delegations, including army chiefs and military officials – that the nation’s competitive advantage was key in future conflict prevention.
It is the second year the MoD has ruled out China and Russia, with RAN Chief Vice Admiral Mike Noonan revoking invitations to China and Russia to attend a naval conference in Sydney in 2022 over deteriorating relations.
Mr Parker, who photographed the trio of men himself, said the men showed a keen interest in absorbing the show and the contestants.
After Mr Parker revealed the possible security breach to Chris Smith’s TNT radio program, Mr Parker said the men were armed with sophisticated camera equipment.
“I might go to ASIO, I’ll report to the Ministry of Defense,” he told Daily Mail Australia.
Presenting the latest aerospace, defense and space technologies, the Avalon show hosted air force chiefs and military officials from various countries, but specifically did not invite Chinese or Russian military
ABC News reported that “there will be 56 international delegations this year, including 22 service chiefs,” but that the Department of Defense “has not invited Chinese and Russian military representatives to Avalon 2023.”
For the first three days of Avalon, only officials or those wearing a Trade Registration Badge were allowed in, which made Mr. Parker even more curious about the three men.
“All three had big long lenses and there were these F33 Raptors and F35 (stealth bombers) planes and one guy was moving his camera around and taking pictures in the crowd,” he said.
“I thought that was weird. China (and Russia) were not invited and they are known for stealing technology.’
Mr. Parker has worked in Washington, DC and consults worldwide on defense security and government technology development issues.
He is Chair of the Defense and National Security Policy Division of the Liberal Party of Australia.
The sold-out show opened to the public after four days of trading and official admission.
The new Australian-developed armed drone, capable of carrying a potentially lethal payload weighing well over 100 kilograms and designed to be transported in shipping containers, was unveiled at the show.
Dubbed STRIX, the system, which features vertical launch, can operate in high-risk areas without a runway.
Security expert Lincoln Parker photographed the men at the Defense Air Show, who aroused his suspicions with their intense interest not only in aircraft but also in the Avalon crowd
Professor John Blaxland, professor of international security and intelligence studies at the Australian National University, told Daily Mail Australia he would not be surprised to see China spying on Australia’s largest defense aviation expo.
“It’s the best place for open espionage by defense attachés from around the world,” he said, adding that chiefs of armed forces from countries Australia was friendly with were in force at the show.
“They didn’t want China or Russia to come into contact with the kit, which is still quite sensitive. You have been disfellowshipped.
“You are not welcome. Relations have deteriorated, particularly with Russia, but we still haven’t recovered from trade sanctions (by China) and Australians aren’t exactly given freedom of movement in China.
“They want to have their cake and eat it too.”
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk
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