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Chinese wargames end with massed incursions, carrier aircraft in Taiwan's ADIZ

The PLA's three days of wargaming around Taiwan were intended to display China's ability to encircle Taiwan with major military units. The exercise also allowed the PLA to test its ability to rapidly array land, sea, and air units from multiple theatres against Taiwan. (Taiwan Ministry of National Defense/Japan Ministry of Defense/Janes)

China has concluded three days of wargames around Taiwan by flying a large number of aircraft over the median line and using carrier-borne fighters to practice strikes from the Pacific Ocean.

Organised by the People's Liberation Army's (PLA's) Eastern Theatre Command (ETC), the exercise was known as Operation ‘Joint Sword'. The PLA said that the drills were intended to deliver a “serious warning” to Taiwan and to showcase China's joint combat system.

The exercise “comprehensively [tested] the multiservice integrated joint combat capability of the army under actual combat conditions”, the PLA added.

From 0600 h local time on 8 April to 1800 h local time on 10 April, the Taiwan Ministry of National Defense (MND) recorded 232 aircraft in the airspace around Taiwan. Out of this, China conducted an estimated 117 incursions into Taiwan's air-defence identification zone (ADIZ), the MND said. This figure does not include the second flight of J-15s, which appear not to have entered the ADIZ.

On 10 April, the final day of the drill, Beijing flew an estimated 47 combat aircraft into the ADIZ, according to the MND. This includes a flight of possibly eight carrier-borne Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) J-15 ‘Flying Shark' twin-engine multirole naval aircraft. Another flight of potentially seven J-15s operated near the southeastern perimeter of the ADIZ on 10 April. However, the MND data does not show aircraft of this second flight entering the ADIZ.

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