TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Chinese military plane entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Tuesday afternoon (March 2), marking the second such intrusion this month.
One People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Shaanxi Y-8 reconnaissance plane flew into the southwestern corner of Taiwan’s ADIZ, according to the Ministry of National Defense (MND). In response, the country scrambled fighter jets, broadcast radio warnings, and deployed air defense missile systems to track the Chinese aircraft.
Since mid-September of last year, Beijing has ratcheted up its gray-zone tactics by regularly sending planes into Taiwan’s ADIZ, with most instances occurring in the southwest corner of the zone and consisting of one to three planes. An ADIZ is an area that extends beyond a country’s air space where air traffic controllers ask incoming aircraft to identify themselves.
Gray zone tactics are defined as “an effort or series of efforts beyond steady-state deterrence and assurance that attempts to achieve one’s security objectives without resort to direct and sizable use of force.” The Chinese have used flights into the ADIZ, amphibious landing exercises, cyberattacks, naval patrols, and diplomatic isolation in attempts to sap Taiwan’s will to resist.
According to MND data, Chinese military planes were tracked in Taiwan’s identification zone 17 times in February and 27 times in January. Last year they were observed 19 times in December, 22 times in November, and 22 times in October, including a drone on Oct. 22.
The Shaanxi Y-8 is a medium-size, medium-range transport aircraft based on the Soviet-era Antonov An-12 and produced by Shaanxi Aircraft Corporation. It can be operated by as few as two or as many as five crew members, depending on the variant.
The Y-8 is 34.02 meters in length with a 38-meter wingspan. It is equipped with four WJ-6 turboprop engines and has a maximum speed of 660 kilometers per hour, with a 10.4-km service ceiling and a maximum range of 5,615 km.
Flight path of Chinese Y-8 on March 2 (MND image)