Taiwanese F-16s outflank Chinese Su-30 over Taiwan Strait

Taiwan Air Force F-16's outmaneuver Chinese Su-30 intruding on ADIZ

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An F-CK-1 and F-16 patrolling Taiwan's ADIZ. (Taiwan Air Force photo)

An F-CK-1 and F-16 patrolling Taiwan's ADIZ. (Taiwan Air Force photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Local media on Wednesday (Oct. 15) reported that Taiwanese F-16 fighter jets outmaneuvered a Chinese Sukhoi-30 (Su-30) fighter jet over the Taiwan Strait and drove it out of Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ) last month.

Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced on Sept. 10 that several People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) planes, including Su-30 fighter jets and Shaanxi Y-8 transport aircraft, violated Taiwan's ADIZ early that morning. The MND said that the aircraft flew several sorties into Taiwan's ADIZ and the Air Force responded with its own fighters to monitor and intercept the enemy aircraft.

On Oct. 15, TVBS cited a retired Air Force pilot Jao Tzu-chiang (饒自強) as revealing that on Sept. 10 that two Taiwan Air Force jets were pursuing a PLAAF Y-8 aircraft as it intruded into Taiwan's ADIZ. He said that a Chinese Su-30 then descended from a high altitude and approached in an attempt to intercept the Taiwanese fighter jets.

In response, Jao said that the F-16 pilots immediately raised the altitude of their fighter jets and seized a superior position and drove the Chinese warplane back. However, the MND has not confirmed the incident, only saying that it was aware of all aircraft movements at the time.

Although footage released at the time showed Chinese warplanes engaged in a simulated battle, it is now believed that the aircraft was staging real exercises in Taiwan's ADIZ. According to Jao, on Sept. 10, a Y-8 breached Taiwan's ADIZ at a slow speed and a low altitude.

Two F-16 fighters were immediately scrambled to intercept the Chinese aircraft. Meanwhile, the Su-30 descended rapidly from an altitude of 30,000 trying to intercept them. Jao then explained how the two Taiwanese jets teamed up to trap the Chinese fighter on either side:

"If our planes meet with theirs, we must hope that we can hide behind the enemy's back and from above and then go in and trap him. When you trap him in this direction, when he tries to move left or right or up and down, he has no way to react."

The former F-16 pilot revealed that it is very important to seize a favorable position in aerial combat. He pointed out that the Su-30 is a multirole air superiority fighter with a variety of air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles and poses a certain threat to Taiwanese aircraft.

"When an F-16 and a Su-30 encounter each other in the air, either could possibly win. It depends on the precision of training and the aptitude and reaction of the pilots," said Jao.