Taiwan this week spotted a new type of fighter jet from China in its air defence zone. It concerns the J-16D, a jet fighter with advanced technology. Among other things, it is capable of suppressing radar and can also fire missiles.
A total of 52 Chinese warplanes were seen in the zone on Sunday and Monday. Of the thirteen on Monday, two were J-16Ds. Taiwan had never seen it before. The devices were presented in China last September, according to state media.
The J-16D poses a “major new threat” to Taiwan’s air defences, according to an analyst at Taiwan’s Defense and Security Research Institute. “They can pave the way for subsequent attacks,” the analyst said.
Taiwan sees itself as an independent state, while China sees the island as a renegade province. As a result, the government in Beijing is putting pressure on Taiwan by, for example, flying fighter planes through the Taiwanese defence zone. The zone extends well beyond Taiwan’s territorial airspace and overlaps with China’s air defence zone.
AFP news agency reports based on a tally that Taiwan sighted 969 Chinese fighter jets in the zone last year, compared to about 380 in 2020. A record 196 sightings were made in October.