Christiaan van Heijst is a Dutch pilot and photographer, who often snaps pictures during flights.
During one of his flights from Hong Kong to Azerbaijan, Heijst noticed an oddly shaped cloud. He realized it was a missile when it detonated, The Daily Mail reported.
The airspace to the north and south of the plane’s flight was owned by the Chinese and closed to any traffic.
It turns out that the Chinese government launched this missile to test a missile defense system, which is intended to knock down attacking missiles before they can reach their target.
The missile left the ground north of the plane, went overhead, and landed south of the plane, creating the huge plume the pilot saw.
Heijst was already familiar with missile contrails through watching videos online. He captured plenty of photos of the event to prove it.
The Dutch pilot also recounted the experience, saying there was a bright flash, and then the missile contrail appeared as a “droplet-shaped bubble that rapidly grew in size and altitude.”
The launch of this high powered missile system was a complete secret. While the pilots knew the airspace was closed, no one had told them why. Air traffic control did not warn them the event would occur–if they even knew.
The test took place over the Himalayan Mountains, presumably in a completely unpopulated area. The pilot’s amazing pictures sure look thrilling, but they also have a dark undertone. As a military power, China could be an excellent ally or a formidable opponent.
The nation isn’t afraid to bluster around the world stage. Though they do have issues to deal with in their own region, it seems they may be looking to extend their influence further.
It makes perfect sense for any nation to develop and test defensive systems. However, that technological advancement includes advances in offensive capability as well.
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