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China Sends 37 Military Aircraft, 7 Naval Vessels Around Taiwan

Chinese military aircraft and seven naval vessels were tracked by Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence (MND) between Friday and Saturday, according to Taiwan News.

The Chinese military aircraft and naval vessels were tracked from 6 am on Friday, July 21 to 6 a.m. on Saturday, July 22.

“37 People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) military aircraft and seven People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) vessels had been tracked around Taiwan,” the MND said on Saturday.

Of the detected aircraft, 22 crossed the median line or entered the southwest, south, southeast, and east sections of Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ), Taiwan News reported.

The aircraft tracked in the ADIZ included eight Chengdu J-10 fighter jets, six Shenyang J-16 fighters, two Xian H-6 bombers, one Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft (Y-8 ASW), one Shaanxi Y-9 electronic warfare plane (Y-9 EW), one Guizhou WZ-7 Soaring Dragon reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle (WZ-7 UAV RECCE), one TB-001 reconnaissance and strike unmanned combat aerial vehicle (TB-001 UCAV RECCE), one Shaanxi KJ-500 early warning and control aircraft (KJ-500 AEW&C), and one Harbin Z-9 (Z-9 ASW) anti-submarine warfare helicopter.

The J-10 combat jets crossed the median line’s northern, central, and southern sections. The TB-001 UCAV and the Y-8 ASW crossed over the southern area of the median line and entered the southwest sector of the ADIZ, while the Z-9 ASW was also detected in the southwest ADIZ briefly taking a parallel path with the Y-8 ASW, Taiwan News reported.

The Y-9 ASW, H-6 bombers, and J-16s flew in parallel tracks in the southwest, south, and southeast sectors of the ADIZ and back. The KJ-500 AEW&C flew in the southwest corner of the ADIZ to the northeast of the Dongsha Islands, while the WZ-7 UAV RECCE covered the longest flight path which spanned from the southwest corner of the ADIZ to the eastern sector and back.

Seven navy ships were also reportedly sent out to conduct combined combat readiness patrols with Chinese military aircraft, according to the MND. The MND said that it is closely monitoring the situation with its intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) system and that it has despatched naval vessels, combat patrol aircraft, and land-based air defence missile systems in response, Taiwan News reported.

Since September 2020, Beijing has increasingly employed the use of “grey zone tactics” in the form of deployments of military aircraft and naval vessels over the median line and inside Taiwan’s ADIZ. According to CSIS, grey zone tactics are “an effort or series of efforts beyond steady-state deterrence and assurance that attempts to achieve one’s security objectives without resorting to direct and sizable use of force.”

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