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38 Chinese warplanes infiltrate Taiwan’s air defense zone in largest reported breach

Chinese J-16 fighter jet. (Ministry of National Defense of Taiwan, Released)
October 01, 2021

On Friday, China sent a new record-setting 38 warplanes towards Taiwan, including 32 fighter jets, four nuclear-capable bombers, an anti-submarine warfare aircraft and an airborne early warning aircraft.

According to the Minister of National Defense for the Republic of China — the formal name for the Taiwanese government — China sent the 38 military aircraft into the southwest section of Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in two separate waves.

The first wave of 25 aircraft included 18 J-16 and four Su-30 fighter jets, two nuclear-capable H-6 bombers and a Y-8 antisubmarine warfare aircraft.

“25 PLA aircraft (J-16*18, SU-30*4, H-6*2 and Y-8 ASW) entered #Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ on October 1, 2021. Please check our official website for more information,” Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense tweeted.

The Taiwanese military reportedly issued radar warnings, activated missile defense systems and deployed aircraft to respond to the initial aerial incursion.

Hours after the first wave of 25 Chinese military aircraft came through, a second smaller wave of 13 Chinese military aircraft again entered Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ. The second wave included 10 more J-16 fighter jets, two more H-6 bombers and a KJ-500 airborne early warning and control aircraft.

“13 PLA aircrafts (J-16*10, H-6*2 and KJ-500*1) entered #Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ on October 1, 2021. Please check our official website for more information,” Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense tweeted.

The Taiwanese military said it again issued radar warnings, activated missile defense systems and deployed aircraft to respond to the initial aerial incursion.

The new record-setting Chinese military flight comes as the Chinese military has, for months, sent its warplanes into Taiwan’s ADIZ.

The previous record high number of Chinese military aircraft flown into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) was 28. The record high before that came in April when 25 PLA aircraft entered the Taiwanese ADIZ. During that previous record-setting Chinese military flight, Chinese warplanes were also observed flying what looked like practice runs of strikes on U.S. warships operating in the region near the Philippines. In March, China sent 20 military aircraft into Taiwan’s ADIZ.

While Taiwan governs itself as an independent nation, China claims Taiwan as part of its territory.

The months of near-constant Chinese military flights around Taiwan are part of apparent effort to exhaust Taiwan’s smaller air force.

Taiwan grounded its fleet of F-16 fighter jets in November and grounded its fleet of F-5 fighter jets in March after separate fatal crashes.

In February, President Joe Biden’s administration vowed to deepen ties with Taiwan in the face of continued Chinese operations around the island.

“We will stand with friends and allies to advance our shared prosperity, security, and values in the Indo-Pacific region — and that includes deepening our ties with democratic Taiwan,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.

In August, Biden approved his first transfer of U.S. weapons to Taiwan — 40 155mm M109A6 Medium Self-Propelled Howitzer artillery systems