Joe Saballa – The Defense Post Apr 27, 2021
On Monday, a Chinese military spy plane entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, an increasingly common intrusion in recent months. The aircraft flew at an altitude of 30 meters, the lowest since September of last year, the SouthwestAirspaceofTW reported, a Facebook page recording aviation activities in southwest Taiwan.
According to Lin Yin-yu, a professor at the Institute of Strategic and International Affairs in Taiwan, the low-altitude flight of the tactical reconnaissance plane was meant to test the southeast Asian nation’s radar response capability.
He suggested using smaller radars to detect aircrafts flying at low altitude.
“Usually, radar signals will be obstructed by certain topography such as a mountain,” Lin explained to the South China Morning Post. “By flying at an altitude of 30 meters, the PLA plane was testing if it could fly beneath the radio wave coverage area.”
China ‘Gathering Intelligence’ Amid Tension
The controversial Chinese military activity was reportedly to gather intelligence and investigate the hydrological features of the sea around the island nation.
Lin stated that the waters in the area where the Chinese plane was detected are deep enough for submarines to conduct operations.
“Most of these flights are there for training and exercises with the primary purpose of allowing the PLA to better command and control the waters in that region,” the professor said.
In response to the recent incursion of the Chinese aircraft, the Taiwanese military scrambled jets and issued several radio warnings. According to Taiwan’s defense ministry, it was the 82nd time this year that a Chinese aircraft has penetrated the country’s air defense identification zone.
The ongoing intrusions take place as China continues to pressure its neighbor to accept its claims of sovereignty. The Taiwanese government, meanwhile, declared that it will fight to the end if its large neighbor resorts to a show of force.