A South African flight training school that allegedly trains Chinese military pilots says it has a few former members of the Royal Canadian Air Force on its payroll.
The Test Flying Academy of South Africa (TFASA), in a statement to The Globe and Mail, would not identify its Chinese customers but said it has customers in the Asia-Pacific region.
He also said that any military aircraft training he provides does not disclose classified information.
TFASA, a training school for test pilots and flight test engineers, said it employs several Canadians who have worked in the Canadian military.
“Most of the Canadian guys would be ex-RCAF, but some of them might be privately trained or civilian-trained pilots,” the company, which operates in Oudtshoorn, said. in South Africa, in a press release.
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TFASA said the military planes it uses to train customers are no later than third-generation fighters and the planes are not from North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries. Third-generation fighters are those from the 1960s and 1970s. “Nothing the RCAF currently has in service,” the company said.
The company said it was “not to train classified tactics or air-to-air combat, but really the kind of basic training you would get from any flight school: aerostability, maneuvers and this kind of things.”
In a separate statement posted on the company’s website, The Test Flying Academy said the same training could be found in Canada and other Western countries.
“The training it provides is also available from other civilian contractors, including organizations based in the United States, Canada and European jurisdictions.”
Last month Canada’s Department of National Defense said it would investigate whether former Canadian fighter pilots were helping the Chinese military after reports in Britain and Australia that Beijing was recruiting Westerners to train its own air force.
On Thursday, however, a Canadian Armed Forces general told MPs there was nothing the military could do about it.
Brigadier-General Denis Boucher, director of general defense security, told the House of Commons defense committee that what people do after leaving the Canadian Forces is not monitored by the military.
“We are aware of the allegations and this matter is of great concern to us,” he said.
“But these are post-employment activities,” the brigadier-general said. Butcher said. “They are not under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Brig.-Gen. Boucher said the military referred the matter to the Justice Department. He said former CRA members are still bound by the provisions of the Privacy Act. But the maintenance of order is a matter for Justice.
Conservative defense spokesman James Bezan said he believed the military was “passing the buck” in the matter.
“These non-disclosure agreements that are signed by RCAF pilots when they leave the forces are between National Defense and the individual, not CSIS, not the RCMP, not the Government of Canada,” a- he declared. “For them to abdicate their responsibility here is in my opinion laughable.”
He said that even if a company uses third-generation fighters for training, he would still be concerned that ex-military pilots would share combat techniques used by NATO member countries.
In the statement on its website, TFASA also said that its trainers do not pass on secrets to its customers. None, he said, “is in possession of legally or operationally sensitive information relating to the national security interests of any country, whether those from which its employees are drawn or in which it provides training. “.
In late October, British media and The New York Times, citing government sources, reported that Beijing was recruiting Westerners to train its own air force. The British Times newspaper, among other outlets, reported that South Africa’s Test Flying Academy was approaching pilots to find veterans who could train People’s Liberation Army (PLA) pilots.
The BBC and others have reported that up to 30 former military pilots have gone to train members of the Chinese PLA. The Australian newspaper reported that Australians were part of this group of pilots and the Daily Mail said that Canadians were also recruited.