TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The military tracked five Chinese warships and 26 Chinese military aircraft around Taiwan on Thursday (Sept. 15), and among two types of military unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) detected was the WZ-7 Soaring Dragon, which was spotted for the first time in Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ).
The Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced that as of 5 p.m. on Thursday, 26 Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) aircraft and five ships had been detected around Taiwan. Of these, two Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets and two Xi’an JH-7 fighter bombers crossed the median line: One Guizhou BZK-007 drone flew just off the southwestern edge of the median line, and four Shenyang J-16 fighters, one Shaanxi Y-9 electronic warfare plane, and one Guizhou WZ-7 Soaring Dragon entered the southwest corner of Taiwan's ADIZ.
Taiwan's Air Force responded by sending combat air patrol planes, broadcasting radio warnings, and tracking the Chinese aircraft with land-based anti-aircraft missiles.
The appearance of the WZ-7 is notable because this is the first time it has been spotted intruding in Taiwan's ADIZ, according to MND data. The WZ-7 Soaring Dragon is a high-altitude, long-endurance UAV that has a similar configuration and function to the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk.
The appearance of the BZK-007 and WZ-7 follows a pattern of increasing intrusions by Chinese drones into Taiwan's ADIZ. It is not yet clear whether China is shifting its incursions in the ADIZ from manned to unmanned aircraft or planning a blend of both.
Map shows incursions by Chinese military aircraft over median line and into ADIZ. (MND image)