TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Air Force has moved Indigenous Defense Fighters (經國號) C/D jets into a base in Penghu County, in the middle of the Taiwan Strait, as part of a project to monitor military activity in the area, according to a report by the Chinese-language United Daily News.
The move comes as China has repeatedly sent military planes and vessels, including its aircraft carrier the Liaoning, into areas close to Taiwan, including the Taiwan Strait. Last February, the communist country suddenly, without consulting Taiwan, opened the M503 flight route, which allowed Chinese flights to fly close to the median line in the Taiwan Strait, a practice which Taiwan opposes due to national security considerations.
At the time, the Air Force said there were no plans to station IDF jets in Penghu permanently, but they could be moved there if the need arose.
The upgraded C/D version of the IDF can attack land-based targets, with the jets likely to be based at the airport near the capital Magong from April to September each year, the United Daily News reported. The jets’ main functions are to defend the islands and intercept intruders.