A fleet of 20 Chinese military aircraft flew into Taiwan's southwestern air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Saturday, marking the 11th consecutive day of such intrusions since Sept. 22, according to the Ministry of National Defense (MND).
The fleet comprised 14 Shenyang J-16 and four Sukhoi SU-30 fighters, and two Y-8 anti-submarine warfare planes, according to a report released by the MND.
All of the aircraft were spotted between Taiwan and its Pratas Islands in the South China Sea, a chart in the report showed.
That airspace is considered part of Taiwan's ADIZ, an area declared by a country to allow it to identify, locate and control approaching foreign aircraft, but such zones are not considered territorial airspace.
The Taiwan Air Force responded by scrambling planes to monitor the Chinese aircraft, issuing radio warnings, and mobilizing air defense assets, the ministry said.
The incident occurred one day after 38 Chinese aircraft, including 24 J-16 fighter jets, entered Taiwan's ADIZ, setting a record for the largest intrusion since September 2020, when Taiwan began releasing records of such actions by China.
On Friday, the Chinese fighter jets entered the ADIZ in two separate sorties, including one late at night, according to the MND.
Chieh Chung (??), a research fellow at the Association of Strategic Foresight, a think tank in Taiwan, said Saturday the late flights were an indication that the J-16 and its pilots had attained considerable nighttime capabilities.
The fighters were likely from different aviation squadrons, as the Chinese People's Liberation Army sought to demonstrate its capability to quickly assemble forces from different units in the event of a conflict, Chieh said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel