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Update: Taiwan's MND reports increased PLAAF incursions

Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) said that it mobilised its combat aircraft on 23 and 24 January in response to deployments of 52 Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) aircraft in its air defence identification zone (ADIZ).

The incursions were the largest reported by the MND since October 2021.

In a statement, the MND said the PLAAF aircraft were operating in the southwestern part of its ADIZ, close to Dongsha (also called Pratas) Island, which is administered by Taiwan. This position has often been cited by the MND as the location of increasingly regular ADIZ incursions.

According to the MND, PLAAF aircraft activity in the ADIZ on 23 January featured 39 aircraft. These included 24 Shenyang J-16 and 10 Chengdu J-10 fighter aircraft; two Shaanxi Y-9 (possibly a Y-9JB or Y-9G variant) and two Shaanxi Y-8 (possibly a Y-8G or Y-8CB) electronic intelligence aircraft; and one H-6 strategic bomber.

The MND said that PLAAF deployments on 24 January featured 10 J-16s fighters, including two electronic warfare (EW)-capable J-16Ds, one anti-submarine warfare (ASW) variant of the Shaanxi Y-8 transport aircraft, and two H-6 strategic bombers. The J-16D EW aircraft are not thought to have been deployed in Taiwan's ADIZ before.

The MND said that in response to these flights on both days, it mobilised the Republic of China Air Force's (RoCAF's) combat air patrol and deployed “air-defence missile systems” for monitoring purposes.

Beijing was yet to comment on the aircraft deployments at the time of publication. However, the state-run Global Times newspaper noted the deployments were part of drills held by the People's Liberation Army (PLA).

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