The Upgrades

The small nation of Pandayan, located in the South China Sea, was so tiny it rarely made the news in small countries. Much to their surprise, the island archipelago found itself targeted far too much Chinese interest. Mere months after surveyors found massive oil and gas beneath the islands, the Chinese government suddenly recalled that Pandayan had always been Chinese territory. Located nearly 2,000 miles from Beijing, this appeared ridiculous, but China persisted. Chinese fighters jets commonly buzzed the capital city.

Usually, the ministers of Pandayan’s government wiled away the day in restaurants eating and getting drunk on their “salary.” On this day, they argued.

“You spent millions buying those hideminders!” shouted Minister of Finance, Tanay.

“Sidewinders,” corrected Minister of Defense, Caladong. He’d served with the Singaporean Air Force and was well-versed on the latest military equipment. His purchase of American Sidewinder AIM-9L air-to-air missiles certainly was peculiar.

“We have no aircraft to put them on!

“We have aircraft,” corrected Caladong.

Tanay spluttered, “You mean the Harvards? Those weren’t even advanced during WW2! They were trainers!”

“So? Those airplanes are our Air Force.”

“Air Force? No country in Asia uses them for even trainers. You spent millions upgrading them. Wasted money!” He pointed out to sea. “We needed a Navy!”

Within view, a Pandayan Coast Guard ship had attempted to intercept Chinese vessels fishing illegally. It was soon attacked by Chinese J-11 fighters. Chinese copies of the much-touted Russian Su-27 hyper-maneuverable fighter, the aircraft’s cannon could easily sink the Pandayan ship.

“We have our Air Force,” reminded Caladong.

Tanay looked up to see four Pandayan Harvards approaching the scene. He sighed. He was used to seeing Chinese supersonic jets fly so fast they approached and disappeared in a blink. The Harvard’s lumbered slowly by, though their engines pushed at maximum power. “We’re doomed!” moaned Tanay.

Just then, the supposedly impossible happened. Long cylinders dropped from the wings of the Harvards. The Sidewinders ignited their motors and streaked towards the Chinese fighters. The second Chinese fighter element called out a missile warning. The attacking Chinese pilots just laughed, thinking their colleagues played a practical joke.

The joke was on them when the two attacking J-11s blew up, downed by WW2 trainers. The other two J-11s bugged out, unwilling to fight an enemy with teeth.

Caladong raised an eyebrow. “About those upgrades…”

Tanay simply popped open a bottle of Filipino Red Horse beer. He raised it up. “To upgrades!”
Author’s Notes:

China is involved in maritime disputes with Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. Essentially ALL of China’s neighbors. China has claimed virtually the entire South China Sea as its own personal possession, disregarding the fact that many other nations exist in the sea. Every nation has accepted international rights to claim an EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone), and China has repeatedly violated the EEZ of every nation previously listed. China has fished illegally in ALL of their neighbor’s waters. China has gone so far as ramming a Vietnamese vessel and sinking it.!/p31345–china-sinking-fishing-boat/9615773/

Written for Matthew Wright’s Short Story Challenge. Look here for the original prompt:


About EagleAye

I like looking at the serious subjects in the news and seeking the lighter side of the issue. I love satire and spoofs. I see the ridiculous side of things all the time, and my goal is to share that light-hearted view.
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15 Responses to The Upgrades

  1. Great story and thanks for the follow up on your research. Seems like not much has changed with China.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. List of X says:

    Unfortunately, even with Sidewinders, a WWII era training airplane is no match for a modern fighter. With their slow speed, they’re probably evade any missile aimed at them. Of course, this assumes that they haven’t had any other upgrades. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lyn says:

    Crafty old Caladong 🙂 He’ll probably end up being Prime Minister…or President—depending, of course, on the Pandayanian political system.

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Yep. He’s due for the position. He might even receive a medal from Parliament next time that august government body meets, at their usual location in Mona’s Bar & Grill. 😉 Thanks Lyn! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great story! There’s definitely a political hot-spot brewing in the South China Sea, for sure. Apropos the Harvards, one of the aircraft in the pic (which I took in February) has since crashed – luckily without injuring anybody or doing too much damage:

    It might be due for an upgrade… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Yeah, I’m watching thew news and their maritime provocations pretty closely. Things are heating up over there. So sad one of the Harvards crashed. They’re an important piece of history. I think Australia used them as attack aircraft, right? Thanks much, Matthew! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, the Aussies were building them under license as the CAC Wirraway, so they could adapt it fairly quickly to front-line use and had a (limited) ability to supply themselves. Desperate times! Here in NZ we did the same thing with the aircraft WE were license-building – the De Havilland Tiger Moth. Mercifully they were never used in combat, but I imagined what might have happened in “Fantastic Pasts”. (There are still a fair few Tigers flying today, but no way would I go up in one even if somebody paid me…)

        Liked by 1 person

      • EagleAye says:

        Yes, the Wirraway. Are there any CAC Boomerangs still flying? A cool looking airplane. Oh the Tiger Moth was an awesome plane, used in many places in the world. They are getting a little long in the tooth, so I wouldn’t blame you for avoiding them. There’s folks who will take you up in a Spitfire these days. Rebuilt and operating perfectly. A ride in a Spit is on my bucket list. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t know about the Boomerangs. Apropos Spitfires – absolutely, that’s on my bucket list too. It’s possible in NZ – there are two-seat Spits and Mustangs both flying, and I was right on the spot for either of them about six weeks ago. The cost? If you have to ask, you can’t afford it… (I haven’t got a specific quote but I gather it’s in the league of $500 a half hour ride, plus $2500 liability insurance…). Sigh. Gotta sell more books…

        Liked by 1 person

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