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Update: PLA aircraft fly into Taiwan's ADIZ on ‘anti-carrier' exercises

A large and varied force of Chinese military aircraft conducted an area denial and anti-carrier drill in Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ) and in the Philippine Sea on 21 June 2022. (Janes)

Twenty-nine Chinese military aircraft flew into Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on 21 June, in what was the third-largest air incursion of the zone by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force this year.

The flight paths, as revealed by Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND), indicate that the aircraft operated in three separate groups.

The first group of six Xian H-6 strategic bombers conducted an unusually deep flight into the ADIZ. The bombers flew off Taiwan's west coast before turning into the Philippine Sea, MND data showed. The bombers were accompanied by one Shaanxi Y-9 electronic warfare (EW) aircraft and one Y-8 electronic intelligence (ELINT) aircraft. These latter aircraft have been identified less than 35 times in the ADIZ since 2021.

Janes assesses that this new flight path has not been attempted by the PLA Air Force (PLAAF) before. Citing experts, the Chinese state-owned newspaper Global Times reported on 22 June that the flights “indicated that the PLA could be practising new tactics to counter possible US aircraft carrier intervention”.

The US Seventh Fleet has reported that the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln was operating in the Philippine Sea. The carrier was conducting “deterrence missions … through a demonstration of long-range maritime strikes with Pacific Air Forces (PACAF)”, the fleet said in a statement. According to the fleet, the USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike group also conducted joint training with Japan's Self-Defense Forces in late May.

The bomber group “likely carried out an anti-access/area denial exercise against possible intervention by US aircraft carriers”, the Global Times

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