China Air Force Warns Away Suspected U.S. Aircraft on Patrol Near Taiwan
This came a day after China sent 19 People’s Liberation Army military aircraft, including atomic bombers, in Taiwan air defense identification area (ADIZ). Tracking flights have also become routine US Air Force and US Navy reconnaissance missions around China this week.
Taiwan air traffic observers who register daily PLA penetrations intercepts the radio message at around 8 am local time on 6 September, Newsweek has learned.
A voice that identifies itself as the PLA Air Force broadcasts the warning of a foreign military aircraft at about the same time as it was shown that the U.S. Navy’s P-8A naval patrol aircraft was flying in the Bashi Waterway between Taiwan and Philippines.
“This is the Chinese Air Force. You are approaching China’s territorial airspace. Leave immediately or you will be detected,” the operator said.
Taiwan’s defense ministry said it had found four PLA Air Force fighters in its ADIZ on Monday morning. Observers say the military planes – two SU-30s and a pair of J-16s – may have been used as interceptors to depart from US patrol planes.
A total of 31 Chinese military aircraft were found in Taiwan’s ADIZ on four consecutive days between September 3 and 6, according to publicly available data released by Taipei. It represents a slight increase in activity in the “gray zone” during the otherwise calm few months after record penetrations in May and June.
The moderators of the TW Southwest Airspace flight tracking team said that the radio message was recorded on the emergency aviation frequency 121.5 MHz, using software-defined radio. Taiwan issued additional warnings on PLA radio on Tuesday, but the exact number of crashes remains unclear at the time of publication.
The Taiwan Air Force is regularly heard expulsion of Chinese military aircraft entry into ADIZ on the island, which is a self-declared and frequently used type of airspace not regulated by international law. The sky over the strategically important Bashi Canal is where American, Chinese and occasional Taiwanese warplanes meet.
Analysts say that the deep waterway at the mouth of South China Sea is a vital passageway for PLA naval assets – including nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers – to reach the western Pacific. Similarly, they believe that the Chinese military may try to block the canal to prevent US and allied forces from interfering in the conflict in the Taiwan Strait or the South China Sea.
Taiwan’s armed forces are rehearsing ahead of the 37th annual military exercise in Han Quang, scheduled for September 13-17. Commentators on the island predict increased Chinese military intelligence during the week-long exercise.