Strange patterns: Growing complexity of Chinese activity in Taiwan's ADIZ

by Akhil Kadidal

An assessment of Chinese air activity in Taiwan's ADIZ between 1 March 2022 and 27 March 2023 shows that the PLA began a sustained campaign of median line incursions from August. The data show that Chinese military aircraft are also involved in novel incursions into the ADIZ. (Taiwan MND/Japan MoD/Janes )

Flights by Chinese military aircraft into Taiwan's air-defence identification zone (ADIZ) are becoming increasingly complex and are showing a more diverse range of operations.

For years, China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force (PLAAF) and the PLA Navy (PLAN) focused on flights into the southwestern quadrant of the ADIZ and near Pratas Island, an isolated atoll defended by Taiwan's Coast Guard Administration. However, from mid-2022, Chinese air operations changed in scope and capability.

According to data from Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) and Japan's Ministry of Defense (MoD), 1,872 Chinese military aircraft flew into the ADIZ between 1 March 2022 and 27 March 2023. These aircraft were spread across at least 894 unique incursions.

Within these overall figures were 718 Chinese military aircraft that conducted 235 individual incursions over the median line – the unofficial boundary

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Update: US CV-22B Osprey crashes in Japanese waters

by Akhil Kadidal

The US Air Force said the Bell Boeing CV-22B involved in the mishap was an aircraft from the 353rd Special Operations Wing. The unit operates its CV-22Bs from Yokota Air Base near Tokyo. (US Air Force)

A Bell Boeing CV-22 Osprey of the US Air Force (USAF) has crashed in Japanese waters.

In a statement later on 29 November US Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) said the CV-22B Osprey from the 353rd Special Operations Wing was involved in the “mishap”.

The aircraft was “performing a routine training mission off the shore of Yakushima Island, Japan, with eight airmen on board,” the AFSOC statement said, adding that the aircraft had taken off from Yokota Air Base.

In a press conference in Tokyo later on 29 November Japanese Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense Hiroyuki Miyazawa said the CV-22 “made an emergency water landing off the coast of Yakushima” at 1440 h local time. Clarifying his use of the term “emergency landing”, Miyazawa said the Ministry of Defense (MoD) had “received an explanation from the US side … that the pilots did their best [to control the aircraft] until the very end”.

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South Korea selects KC-390 for acquisition

by Akhil Kadidal

An Embraer rendering of the KC-390 shows the aircraft with the emblem of the Republic of Korea Air Force's 251st Tactical Air Support Squadron (of the 5th Tactical Transport Wing), which is based at Gimhae, near the southern city of Busan. (Embraer)

The South Korean government has announced that it has selected the Embraer KC-390 Millenium transport aircraft for its Large Transport Aircraft-II (LTA-II) acquisition programme.

The decision was made during the 157th Defense Acquisition Program Committee meeting on 4 December, according to the Defense Acquisition Programme Administration (DAPA). The procurement has a contract value of KRW710 billion (USD543.3 million). The purchase plan for the programme was originally approved during the 142nd Defense Acquisition Program Committee meeting in March 2022.

According to DAPA, the KC-390 was selected following the Defense Security Committee's deliberations. “The ‘Large Transport Aircraft II' is a project to secure additional large transport aircraft operated by the air force [Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF)] through overseas purchases to meet the peacetime shortage,” DAPA said.

It is unclear how many aircraft will be procured. A DAPA spokesperson told Janes

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Japan becomes observer on Eurodrone project

by Gareth Jennings

A mock-up of the Eurodrone displayed at the Paris Air Show 2023. Japan has now joined the programme as an observer. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Japan has attained official observer status on the Eurodrone project, the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) announced on 30 November.

The letter of approval was presented in Berlin by OCCAR Executive Administration Director Joachim Sucker to the Japanese Ambassador to Germany, Hidenao Yanagi.

Also known as the European medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) remotely piloted air system (RPAS), the Eurodrone was officially launched in February 2022 by Germany, along with France, Italy, and Spain.

Mock-ups presented at several European air shows show the twin-engined Eurodrone to be slightly larger than the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) MQ-9A Reaper. Although intended primarily as an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) vehicle (including signals intelligence), there will be an option for it to be armed (the MBDA Akeron LP air-to-surface missile was recently selected as one weapon type for the platform).

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Flights by Chinese military aircraft into Taiwan's air-defence identification zone (ADIZ) are becomi...

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