TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A U.S. Air Force (USAF) U-2 reconnaissance aircraft was detected by aircraft spotters on Monday morning (Jan. 25) patrolling Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) at the same time as a Chinese military plane.
At 8:20 a.m. on Monday, Twitter user "Ketagalan" detected the signal of a U-2S with the Mode-S hex code AE0962 having taken off from South Korea, and at 8:33 a.m. it was spotted near the northeast corner of Taiwan's ADIZ, off the coast of Yilan. Thirty-four minutes later, Ketagalan detected the signal of a Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft with the Mode-S hex code 7A431A. Both aircraft would be spotted multiple times in Taiwan's ADIZ for the rest of the morning and into the afternoon.
At 9:22 a.m., aircraft watcher Viper reported a U-2 spy plane sortie over the South China Sea and wrote, "things are truly heating up." Twelve minutes later, the plane enthusiast Aircraft Spots announced that a USAF U-2S Dragon lady with the registration number 80-1087 had taken off from Osan U.S. Air Force Base in South Korea and had entered the South China Sea through the Bashi Channel.
Aircraft Spots noted the USS Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group was nearby. At 9:39 a.m., it reported a Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAAN) Shaanxi Y-8Q anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft with the tail number 82011 prowling over the southwest corner of Taiwan's ADIZ.
By 9:55 a.m., the Beijing-based South China Sea (SCS) Probing Initiative reported the U-2S was spotted to the east of Taiwan and had come "as close as 22.55NM off the coastline." It claimed the spy plane had entered the South China Sea at 9:09 a.m. that day.
Ketagalan at 11:18 a.m. displayed a map showing the Chinese military aircraft flying in the southwest corner of Taiwan's ADIZ. At 1:15 p.m. on Monday afternoon, aircraft spotter CANUK78 spotted the U-2S Dragon lady flying on a northward path through the Bashi Chanel and just off Taiwan's southernmost tip of Eluanbi and Ketagalan confirmed this flight path, saying it was returning to South Korea to "eat kimchi."
At 1:34 p.m., Ketagalan posted a map showing the Y-8 still loitering in the southwest corner of Taiwan's ADIZ. Just 11 minutes later, CANUK78 uploaded a map showing the American spy plane off the coast of eastern Taiwan.
By 4:05 p.m., CANUK78 showed the U-2S spy plane approaching its base in South Korea.