TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- In an apparent response to the presence of the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning, the U.S. Navy dispatched a P-8A sub-hunting Poseidon through the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday (June 18).
The military aviation news site Alert 5 reported that as the Liaoning entered the South China Sea on Tuesday, a U.S. Navy P-8A maritime patrol aircraft flew through the Taiwan Strait for surveillance and reconnaissance. According to a map posted by Alert 5, the P-8A apparently took off from Singapore, flew north through the South China Sea, made its way through the Taiwan Strait, and then rounded northern Taiwan to head south to the Luzon Strait, before turning north again and landing at a U.S. military base in Okinawa, in a clear display of guardianship over Taiwan.
Lu Li-shih (呂禮詩), a retired lieutenant commander of Taiwan's Navy said that this is a new situation after U.S. ships "normalized" the passage of the Taiwan Strait in July of last year, reported CNA. When the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Liaoning prowls the South China Sea, the U.S. can send P-8A to Singapore for identification and verification, said Lu.
Even if it wants to divert to Okinawa, it actually can go directly through the Bashi Channel and it does not need to fly around Taiwan most of the time. In the future, the U.S. military may use the Taiwan Strait to fly between its bases on either end of the South China Sea as part of the "new normal," said Lu.
Military Youth Daily (軍媒青年日) reports that the main missions of the P-8A are maritime patrols, reconnaissance, and anti-submarine operations. In addition to its flight performance as a jet aircraft, its sensors are highly advanced.
The P-8A is equipped with AN/APY-10 multifunction radar which provide 360-degree surveillance of land and coastal regions, synchronous scanning and tracking of multiple targets, color displays of weather information, and is fully integrated into Boeing's Mission Control and Display System. The AN/ALQ-240(V)1 marine patrol system has 100 sets of sonar buoys for underwater search, high-tech "electronic support equipment" (ESM), and infrared night vision sensors.
Furthermore, it is equipped with "early warning self-protection" (EWSP) system and other standard U.S. Navy equipment. There are five in-plane ballistic compartments and six external hardpoints on the aircraft
(Photo from ADS-B Exchange)