Nearly Two Dozen Chinese Military Aircraft Violate Taiwan’s Airspace

In this Feb. 10, 2020, file photo and released by the Republic of China (ROC) Ministry of National Defense, a Taiwanese Air Force F-16 in foreground flies on the flank of a Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) H-6 bomber as it passes near Taiwan. This year's annual congress …
Republic of China (ROC) Ministry of National Defense via AP

China deployed 19 military aircraft to Taiwan on Sunday, where the air fleet subsequently penetrated the southwestern corner of the island’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) confirmed.

China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) dispatched “10 Shenyang J-16 fighter jets, four Xian H-6 bombers, four SU-30 fighters, and one Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine warfare plane (Y-8 ASW)” to Taiwan’s ADIZ on September 5, Taiwan News reported.

“Taiwan’s Air Force responded by scrambling fighter jets to drive the planes away, broadcasting radio warnings, and tracking the aircraft with land-based anti-aircraft missiles,” according to the newspaper.

ADIZ refers to “an area of airspace over land or water in which the ready identification, location, and control of all aircraft … is required in the interest of national security,” according to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

Taiwan is a sovereign island nation located off the southeastern coast of China. Beijing considers Taiwan a renegade province and has vowed to “reunify” the island with mainland China by force if necessary. Taiwan operates successfully as an independent country with its own government and military. The relatively small island is extremely valuable as its Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. manufactures nearly all of the world’s microchips. Taiwan’s unparalleled semiconductor industry means the island is highly coveted by Beijing.

China’s PLA has increasingly deployed military aircraft to violate Taiwan’s ADIZ over the past year in an effort to intimidate the island. The incursions have seemed nearly incessant at times.

“Chinese planes were tracked in Taiwan’s identification zone 22 times in April, 18 times in March, 17 times in February, and 27 times in January,” Taiwan News noted in May, citing MND data. The newspaper made the observation while reporting on Taiwan’s seventh ADIZ penetration by Chinese PLA aircraft that month alone.

China’s latest violation of Taiwan’s ADIZ on September 5 “marked the third consecutive day that the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) had dispatched two or more aircraft into the zone, with four planes deployed on both Friday and Saturday (Sept. 3-4),” Taiwan News reported on Sunday.

Taiwan’s military should monitor future air incursions by China’s PLA “for the possible inclusion of the new J-16D, which is designed for electronic warfare,” Taiwanese military scholar Su Tzu-yun told the Singapore-based news agency CNA on September 5.

“[T]he J-16D is believed to have capabilities similar to the Boeing EA-18G Growler in that it can suppress ground and sea air defense systems and jam radar systems,” according to Su.

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