TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Chinese bomber entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Thursday afternoon (Aug. 20), marking the seventh intrusion this month.
A People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Xian H-6 strategic bomber flew into the southwestern corner of Taiwan’s ADIZ from the south, 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 PLAAF bomber.
Chinese planes have been spotted in Taiwan’s identification zone so far this month on Aug. 8, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, and 19. While last month all the planes sent into the zone were slow-flying Y-8 turboprops, this month has seen a mix of spotter planes and warplanes.
On Aug. 12, three Y-8s consisting of different variants, along with four Shenyang J-16 fighter jets were tracked in Taiwan’s ADIZ. Meanwhile, on Aug. 17, two Y-8s and a KJ-500 airborne early warning and control planes were seen in the zone along with six J-16 fighter planes and two H-6 bombers.
Since September last year, Beijing has stepped up gray zone tactics by routinely sending aircraft into Taiwan’s ADIZ, with most occurrences taking place in the southwest corner of the zone. Compared to previous months, June and July saw fewer incursions into Taiwan’s ADIZ.
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 ADIZ 14 times in July, 10 times in June, 18 times in May, 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 Aug. 19. (MND image)