TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Over two dozen Chinese military planes flew into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Monday (April 12), marking the 10th intrusion this month.
In the People’s Liberation Army Air Force's (PLAAF) largest incursion so far this year, 22 warplanes, including 14 Shenyang J-16 fighter jets, four Chengdu J-10 fighters, and four Xian H-6 bombers entered the southwest corner of Taiwan’s ADIZ, according to the Ministry of National Defense (MND). In addition, three slower turboprops — two Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine warfare planes and one Shaanxi KJ-500 airborne early warning and control aircraft — were also tracked in the zone.
In response, Taiwan scrambled jets, issued radio warnings, and deployed air defense missile systems to track the PLAAF planes. Monday’s 25 planes comprised the largest incursion since March 26, when Beijing sent 20 aircraft into Taiwan’s ADIZ.
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 slow-flying turboprops. However, in recent weeks, China has begun to sporadically send larger numbers of aircraft, including fighter jets (J-10s and J-16s) into Taiwan’s identification zone.
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.”
According to MND data, Chinese planes were tracked in Taiwan’s identification zone 18 times in March, 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.
Chinese J-16 (MND photo)
Chinese J-10 (MND photo)
Chinese KJ-500 (MND photo)
Chinese Y-8 (MND photo)
Flight paths of Chinese planes on April 12 (MND image)