TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Two Chinese fighter planes entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Monday morning (March 22), marking the 12th such occurrence this month.
Two People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Chengdu J-10 fighter jets flew into the southwest corner of Taiwan’s ADIZ, to the northeast of the Dongsha Islands (Pratas Islands), 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 planes.
Chinese planes were spotted in Taiwan’s identification zone on March 1, 2, 3, 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 20, and 22.
Since mid-September of last year, Beijing has stepped 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 usually 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.” Flights into the ADIZ, amphibious landing exercises, cyberattacks, naval patrols, and diplomatic isolation have all been used by the Chinese in an attempt to wear down Taiwan’s resolve.
According to MND data, Chinese 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 J-10 is a multi-role fighter developed by the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group. It has a maximum speed of 2,327 kilometers per hour, a service ceiling of 18,000 meters, a range of 1,850 km, and a combat radius of 550 km.
Flight path of Chinese plane on March 22 (MND image)