TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Chinese military turboprop entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Wednesday afternoon (May 26), marking the 17th intrusion this month.
A People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Shaanxi KJ-500 airborne early warning and control plane flew into the southwest corner of the ADIZ, according to the Ministry of National Defense (MND). In response, Taiwan sent aircraft, broadcast radio warnings, and deployed air defense missile systems to track the plane.
Most of China’s intrusions into Taiwan’s identification zone this month have consisted of one to two slow-flying turboprops. So far, anti-submarine warfare variants have been tracked 13 times, electronic warfare variants eight times, reconnaissance variants twice, and early warning and control variants once.
Since September, Beijing has stepped up its gray zone tactics by frequently sending planes into Taiwan’s ADIZ, with most instances taking place in the southwest corner of the 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 aircraft were tracked in Taiwan’s identification zone 22 times in April, 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.
Flight path of Chinese plane on May 26 (MND image)