Chinese electronic warfare planes and helicopter enter Taiwan’s ADIZ

Taiwan MND

A Chinese military turboprop entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on November 2, 2021. This is China’s second intrusion of Taiwan this month alone. 

According to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND), A People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Shaanxi Y-8 electronic warfare plane flew into the southwest corner of the ADIZ.

In response, Taiwan issued radio warnings, sent aircraft, and deployed missiles to track the Chinese aircraft.

An ADIZ is an area that extends beyond a country’s airspace where air traffic controllers ask incoming aircraft for identification. 

Gray zone tactics have been described by the Harvard National Security Journal as “tactics that fall somewhere between war and peace on the use-of-force spectrum, though exactly where they fall is difficult to say with any certainty”.

During 2021, China has sent a total of 714 military aircraft into Taiwan’s identification zone. Since September of last year, China has increased its use of gray zone tactics by routinely sending aircraft into the ADIZ, most flying into the southwest corner of the ADIZ. 

On October 26, 2021, seven military aircraft flew into Taiwan’s ADIZ, including three types of military aircraft that had never been reported in the defense area before.

The MND reported that five fixed-wing military aircraft had trespassed on the southwest corner of Taiwan’s ADIZ, including:

  • One Shaanxi Y-8 C3

  • One Y-8 electronic warfare plane (Y-8 EW)

  • One Y-8 tactical reconnaissance aircraft (Y-8 RECCE)

  • Two Shenyang J-16 fighter jets

The MND also reported the rare sighting of two helicopters, an Mi-17 cargo helicopter and a WZ-10 attack helicopter, inside the defense zone.

Taiwan’s Air Force responded by sending combat air patrol (CAP), broadcasting radio warnings, and tracking them with land-based anti-aircraft missiles.

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