Home News Former Marine pilot instructor arrested in Australia after working in China

Former Marine pilot instructor arrested in Australia after working in China

Photo credit: Top Gun Australia

A former United States Marine pilot -who switched sides to train the Chinese- has been arrested in Australia, and faces extradition to the American homeland.

Daniel Edmund Duggan, 54, was arrested on Friday in the rural town of Orange in New South Wales.

Following a same-day court appearance, Duggan was denied bail and taken to a local penitentiary.

The United States is looking to extradite the former Marine.

“An individual was arrested on 21 October 2022 pursuant to a request from the United States of America for their provisional arrest,” a spokesman for the federal Attorney-General’s Department told Reuters in a statement. “As the matter is before the courts, it would not be appropriate to comment further.”

According to CBS, Duggan ran a business called Top Gun Australia, which billed itself as the country’s “premier adventure flight company.”

On the company’s web page, he’s described as a “former U.S. Marine Corps officer of over 12 years” and flew missions in support of Operation Southern Watch from Kuwait and the USS Boxer.

“As a highly trained fighter pilot, he flew harrier jump jets off of aircraft carriers tactically around the globe,” the website says.

“As a senior tactical instructor Dan held every tactical instructor qualification including Weapons and Tactics Instructor, Air Combat Tactics Instructor, Low Altitude Tactics Instructor, Night Tactics & Night Vision Goggle Instructor, and a Day/Night/NVG LSO (aircraft carrier landing instructor) to name just some. Other duties included Harrier “Level III Demo” (airshow) pilot.”

Details of the U.S. arrest warrant and the charges he faces are sealed.

The news comes following reports of the United Kingdom going after former RAF pilots involved in training the Chinese.


Oct. 18—The United Kingdom has warned its former military pilots against working for the Chinese military. According to a BBC report, up to 30 former British fighter pilots are believed to be training People’s Liberation Army personnel.

It is claimed that the former military pilots are being lured to China with massive amounts of money to pass on their expertise to the PLA. The intelligence officials have said that the attempts to headhunt pilots have escalated.

A UK Ministry of Defence spokesperson told the website that training and recruiting pilots doesn’t breach any law but officials in the UK and other countries are trying to deter the exercise.

According to an official, retired British pilots are being offered as much as 237,911 Pound Sterling to help the Chinese understand how Western planes and pilots operate. Such information will prove handy to the Chinese in conflicts like Taiwan.

According to report, the UK officials in 2019 learnt about former military pilots being recruited but chose to deal the matter on a case-by-case basis. After travel to China became impossible during Covid-19, the attempts have now resumed.

A UK official also claimed that the Chinese have targeted current serving military pilots but none of them accepted the offer. The pilots are experienced flyers of fast jets and choppers, having served not just in the RAF but across the British military. They have even flown Typhoons, Jaguars, Harriers and Tornadoes.

According to report, Beijing is keen to tap in F-35 pilots but they are not involved. Some of the pilots are in their late 50s and left the forces long time ago. The pilots of other allied nations have also been targeted. The recruitment process is carried out through head-hunters and a particular South African flying academy is said to be involved.

However, there is no evidence to prove that the retired pilots violated the Official Secrets Act. The officials say the alert is to remind serving personnel of their obligations to protect secret information.

A UK defence ministry spokesperson said the government is taking decisive steps to stop the Chinese from poaching serving and former armed forces pilots to train PLA personnel.


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