PLA warplanes ‘score full attendance’ on patrols near Taiwan in Nov amid ‘enhanced combat preparedness’
Published: Dec 01, 2021 07:35 PM
A bomber attached to an aviation regiment of the PLA Navy takes off for a realistic round-the-clock flight training exercise on August 9, 2021. The training contains multiple subjects such as shock tactics against ground and sea targets, flight-refueling operations and so on. ( by Yang Ling)

A bomber attached to an aviation regiment of the PLA Navy takes off for a realistic round-the-clock flight training exercise on August 9, 2021. ( by Yang Ling)

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) reportedly has sent warplanes near the island of Taiwan every day in November for drills and patrols, and the rare full attendance indicates its enhanced combat preparedness amid provocations by Taiwan secessionists and foreign interference forces, analysts said on Wednesday.

Four PLA J-11 fighter jets entered Taiwan's self-proclaimed southwest air defense identification zone on Tuesday, the defense authority on the island said in a press release on Tuesday, the last day of November.

This shows that PLA warplanes, in a rare move, achieved full attendance in missions in the region in November, Taipei-based Liberty Times Net reported, citing open radio communications and flight path records.

According to the website of Taiwan's defense authority, which summarizes all press releases it had published, PLA warplane activities on November 3 were missing. Even so, this would mean a 96.7 percent attendance rate for the month.

The increasing attendance rate by PLA warplanes in patrols near the island of Taiwan is expected, since these kinds of drills and patrols have become routine for more than a year, and it is natural that the complexity and intensity would increase to meet training requirements for real combat scenarios, a Chinese mainland military expert told the Global Times on Wednesday, requesting anonymity.

In November, Taiwan secessionists made a number of provocations, including approving an additional budget worth NT$240 billion ($8.63 billion) for the island's navy and air force to counter the Chinese mainland's military modernization, and commissioning the first combat wing of F-16V fighter jets.

Foreign forces also provoked with moves like the visits by US congressional delegations and a parliamentary delegation from Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia to the island, and a US warship transit in the Taiwan Straits.

The PLA needs to enhance its combat preparedness to deter these provocative moves, the expert said.

On Sunday, the PLA reportedly dispatched for the first time the aerial tanker variant of the Y-20 large transport plane near the island of Taiwan, with experts saying the new aircraft's debut is of significance because it can act as a power amplifier by extending the range and endurance of other warplanes, allowing them to, for example, operate on the east side of Taiwan island.

More types of weapons and equipment are expected to join the routine operations, observers said.