TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Thursday (Jan. 7), marking the sixth intrusion this month.
A People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Shaanxi KJ-500 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft flew into the southwest corner of the ADIZ, according to the Ministry of National Defense (MND). In response, Taiwan scrambled fighter jets, issued radio warnings, and deployed air defense missile systems to track the Chinese plane.
The KJ-500 is a third-generation AEW&C aircraft that is based on the Shaanxi Y-9 airframe and powered by four turboprop engines. The plane has a cruising speed of 550 kph, with a range of approximately 5,700 km. The aircraft has a fixed dorsal rotodome containing three active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars arranged in a triangular configuration to give it full 360 degree coverage.
Since mid-September of last year, China has been regularly sending planes into Taiwan’s ADIZ, with most instances occurring in the southwest corner of the zone. According to MND data, PLAAF planes were detected in the ADIZ 19 times in December, 22 times in November, and 22 times in October, including a drone on Oct. 22.
According to a 2020 report on China released by the Institute for National Defense and Security Research (INDSR), between Jan. 1 to Nov. 30 last year, Chinese military planes breached Taiwan’s ADIZ on 91 days. For the whole of 2020, the PLAAF flew around 380 sorties into Taiwan’s identification zone, according to MND spokesman Shih Shun-wen (史順文).
Flight path of Chinese KJ-500 on Jan. 7 (MND image)