One of Red China’s favorite tactics for probing Taiwan’s defenses and wearing down the Republic of China’s Air Force is to send in a constant stream of fighter jets. These penetration missions in which CCP fighter jets fly through Taiwanese skies force Taiwanese to react and send fighter planes. Fighter jets are very expensive to maintain and fly.
This tactic made headlines this summer when China sent more than 100 fighter jets to investigate Taiwan’s defenses just after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Although media coverage has declined, probes continue to be conducted. Red China recently sent a large force of fighter jets and nuclear-capable bombers to Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone.
According to Taiwan News, this most recent breach of Taiwan’s outer defenses, which took place on Sunday the 28th, involved twenty-seven total aircraft, including “eight Shenyang J-16 fighters, six Chengdu J-10 fighters, four Shenyang J-11 fighters, five Xi’an H-6 bombers, one Shaanxi Y-9 electronic warfare aircraft, two KJ-500 airborne early warning, and control aircraft (KJ-500 AEW&C), and one Xi’an Y-20U aerial tanker.”
While the fighters involved are somewhat less capable than Taiwan’s upgraded F-16V fighters, the H-6 bombers, which can carry nuclear weapons, and the electronic warfare aircraft, which can make it difficult or impossible for opposing jets to fire back, are both highly worrisome additions to the slew of Chinese platforms involved in penetrating Taiwan’s ADIZ, as they could be used to devastating effect in the event of a Chinese attack.
While the aerial tanker may seem to be the safest, Taiwan News explains why it is so problematic for the island nation.
The appearance of the tanker is significant because aerial refueling was considered a weak point of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). The addition of such aircraft could greatly extend the range of China’s fighters, bombers, and transport planes.
The latest attack on Taiwan’s ADIZ is part of the CCP’s ongoing threats and saber-rattling.
The Washington Examiner reports that the operation took place the same weekend and the twenty-seven aircraft operations.
President Xi Jinping of China held a three-day meeting over the weekend with the country’s top officers to discuss how to strengthen the armed forces through talent cultivation, according to Reuters, which reported Xi made no mention of Taiwan but did stress the need to modernize the country’s military in order to win wars.
“It is necessary to make great efforts to strengthen scientific and technological literacy and improve the actual ability to win modern wars,” the official Xinhua news agency cited Xi as saying. “It is necessary to strengthen practical experience and encourage and guide officers and soldiers to experience the wind and rain, see the world, strengthen their muscles and bones, and develop their talents in fiery military practice.”
China’s ongoing probes and penetrations of Taiwan are not meant to be an inconvenience. These probes and penetrations are part of Xi’s call for PLA soldiers to “develop their talents [in fiery military practice]”. Hopefully, that fiery practice does not escalate to the point where Taiwan Straight becomes a sea of fire.
The US military is spending thousands of dollars on a diversity commissioner, and hours on hand-wringing, pearl clutching, and discussing climate change, instead of focusing on the danger posed to our Chinese friends.