A Taiwanese pilot is under arrest after he allegedly planned to steal a U.S.-made helicopter and fly it to a Chinese aircraft carrier.

The pilot was offered $15 million to fly the CH-47 Chinook helicopter onto a People’s Liberation Army Navy vessel during a planned exercise, the South China Morning Post reported. The plan failed when Taiwanese authorities arrested the officer, only identified as Hseih, in August.

Hseih allegedly rejected an initial offer of about $6,350 a month to steal the heavy-lift helicopter, but acquiesced when the Chinese offered a $1 million down payment and $15 million total, while also agreeing to evacuate his family to Thailand, according to the Morning Post. The Taiwanese Army has eight CH-47SD helicopters, according to Flight Global’s 2024 “World Air Forces Directory.”

China massed forces off the coast of Taiwan while offering a plan for “integrated development” in September.

The CH-47D has a top speed of 177 miles per hour, can carry up to 17 tons of cargo and had a range of 706 miles, according to the United States Army’s Center for Military History.

The alleged attempted helicopter theft is not the only Chinese spy scandal from 2023. United States Air Force fighters shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon Feb. 4, after it transited across the United States and flew near sensitive sites, including Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana and Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.

The former base houses intercontinental ballistic missiles, while the Air Force operates B-2 Spirit stealth bombers from the latter.

Harold Hutchison on December 11, 2023

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