TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Nine Chinese military planes entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Tuesday (April 20), marking the 17th intrusion this month.
Five People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Shenyang J-16 fighter jets, two Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine warfare planes, one Shaanxi Y-8 electronic warfare plane, and one Shaanxi Y-8 reconnaissance plane flew into the southwest corner of Taiwan’s ADIZ. In response, Taiwan sent aircraft, broadcast radio warnings, and deployed air defense missile systems to track the PLAAF planes.
Since September of last year, Beijing has stepped up its gray zone tactics by regularly sending planes into Taiwan’s ADIZ, with most instances taking place in the southwest corner of the zone.
Initially, these intrusions were usually carried out by one to three slow-flying turboprops. However, over the last month, China has begun sending larger incursions including fighter jets (J-10s and J-16s) into the 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, while 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 Y-8 EW (MND photo)
Chinese Y-8 ASW (MND photo)
Chinese Y-8 REECE (MND photo)
Flight paths of Chinese planes on April 20 (MND image)