A People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Shaanxi Y-8 reconnaissance aircraft entered the southwest corner of Taiwan’s ADIZ, according to the Ministry of National Defense (MND). In response, the Taiwanese military scrambled fighter jets, issued radio warnings, and deployed air defense missile systems to track the plane.
Since mid-September of last year, China has been regularly sending planes into Taiwan’s ADIZ, with most instances occurring in the southwest corner of the zone. According to MND data, PLAAF planes were detected in the ADIZ 19 times in December, 22 times in November, and 22 times in October, including a drone on October 22.
According to a 2020 report on China released by the Institute for National Defense and Security Research (INDSR), between January 1 and November 30, 2020, Chinese military planes breached Taiwan’s ADIZ on 91 days. For the whole of 2020, the PLAAF conducted about 380 sorties into Taiwan’s identification zone, according to MND spokesman Shih Shun-wen.
The Y-8 is a medium-sized, medium-range transport aircraft based on the Soviet Antonov An-12 and produced by the Shaanxi Aircraft Corporation. It can be operated by as few as two or as many as five crew members, depending on the variant.
The Y-8 is 34 meters in length and has a 38-meter wingspan. It is outfitted with four WJ-6 turboprop engines and has a maximum speed of 660 kilometers per hour, a 10.4-km service ceiling, a ferry range of 4,800 km, and a maximum range of 5,615 km.
Meanwhile, Taiwan military has begun deploying extended-range cruise missiles, Kelvin Chen reports. Military sources stated on Monday, January 11 that the extended-range version of the Hsiung Feng 2E cruise missile has been deployed in small quantities.
The sources said that the National Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCIST) has successfully developed an extended-range variant of the Hsiung Feng 2E cruise missile that has a range of 1,200 kilometers, making it capable of striking China’s non-coastal military installations.
The military pointed out that the newly produced missiles were recently handed over to the Taiwanese Air Force’s Air Defense and Artillery Command. The exact number of missiles currently deployed remains confidential, CNA reported.
According to the official Air Force website, the command is responsible for the nation’s medium- and high-altitude air defense, with its arsenal of Sky Bow, HAWK, and Patriot missiles.
Additionally, rumors suggest NCIST has launched a project to develop a long-range cruise missile with a range of up to 2,000 km. The military has not yet commented on this.