The day after the U.S. presidential elections, on November 4 the U.S. government announced its decision to sell MQ-9B (Sea Guardian) drones to Taiwan. As Taiwan’s ADIZ (Air Defense Identification Zone) is frequently intruded by the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) nautical and airborne vehicles, the drones, when acquired, will provide the country with a counterweight and help correct the military imbalance between the two sides.
Responding to the Foreign and National Defense Committee of Legislative Yuan, Minister of National Defense Yen Teh-fa noted that a total of 276 PLA aircraft has entered Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ since the beginning of the year, with 87 sorties since September 16 alone. Taiwan’s Deputy Chief of Defense staff has also noted that there have been drone intrusions in Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ, something that was not mentioned in the official website monitoring them. Evidently, there are gaps in the officially published data.
PLA intrusions in Taiwan’s ADIZ since September have made up for more than 30 percent of the whole year. A third of these intrusions are by the Y-8Q/KQ-200 (also known as Y-8GX6) aircraft. The Y-8Q is like the U.S. Navy’s P-3C Orion; it is a fixed-wing anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft. It has magnetic anomaly detectors and sonobuoys, which can help detect submarines.