Intruding Taiwanese Airspace Is Easy, But Loitering There Proved Difficult For PLAAF

A Taiwanese Air Force F-16 intercept Chinese H-6 bomber escorted by J-11A fighter aircraft.

A record was set when 20 PLA ​​military aircraft departed from mainland China and approached Taiwan in two directions.

In recent times, Chinese military aircraft are constantly appearing in the Taiwan Strait area. On March 26, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) held the largest ever training in the air defense identification zone of the island of Taiwan. A record is set when 20 PLA ​​military aircraft departed from mainland China and approached Taiwan in two directions.

A group of 15 aircraft, 1 KJ-500 early warning aircraft, 2 Y-8 submarine hunting aircraft, 2 J-10 fighters and 10 J-16 fighters – flew over the West Sea. South Taiwan, essentially matching the wartime flight route, the Chinese aircraft would follow behind to support the carrier fleet.

Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets are patrolling over Taiwan Straits. Source Taiwanese Air Force

The second group of four H-6K bombers and 1 hunting plane Y8 flew over the Bashi Strait and into the waters east of Taiwan Island.

In other words, these two groups of aircraft surrounded Taiwan in the south.

US military expert Tom Cooper said that this siege tactic would help Beijing surprise and weaken Taiwan’s defenses for a few hours before the PLA’s military forces landed. ” Such tactics in a war means the direction of the PLA’s attack will be difficult to grasp and create surprise,” he said.

According to Forbes military reporter David Ax, although Taiwan defends very closely, it is still very important to know the direction of the opponent’s attack, beneficial for defending in depth. Because if the PLA bombers launch cruise missiles from western and eastern Taiwan, Beijing could split the island’s defenses and increase their chances of attacking its targets.

In fact, Beijing made no secret of its intentions. After the March 26 training, Chinese state media specially praised this siege strategy. The Global Times said that “in a military conflict scenario, the PLA would probably encircle Taiwan from all directions”.

The PLA’s tactic to encircle Taiwan seems easy, but the reality is quite difficult, Ax reporter said. Taiwanese fighters that can intercept PLA bombers and PLA bombers are susceptible to destruction due to the lack of fighter support and ground-based air defenses.

Furthermore, with an early warning, the US military could send 2-3 warships to move to the Western Pacific. With the support of a large number of aerial refueling aircraft, American fighters could help Taiwan cut off the flight path of Chinese bombers.

“A possible siege by a bomber is a new threat to Taiwan but it’s not hard to realize that it will fail”, he said. For China, however, that is probably acceptable. The PLA Air Force may be in dismal shape due to most of the Soviet-era Su-30s and reverse engineered J-11 fighter. However, after a period of intense modernization, the PLA has many options to attack Taiwan – particularly including its massive and growing arsenal of ballistic missiles.

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