“The new normal:” Chinese drone circles Taiwan for second time in a week

The Chinese military flew a drone around Taiwan yesterday, May 2, just six days after it made the first encirclement using a bomber drone on April 27, rapidly escalating the maneuver from unprecedented to “new normal.”

According to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense, a People’s Liberation Army Air Force BZK-005 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) flew eastwards from the Chinese coast, crossing the center line of the Taiwan Strait in the north, then passing between Yonaguni Island, Japan, and Taiwan’s east coast. The drone then returned back to China via the Bashi Channel south of Taiwan.

The BZK-005 traveled in the opposite direction of the TB-001 drone deployed by the Chinese on April 27, which circled Taiwan in an anticlockwise direction.

Former Deputy Commander of the ROC Air Force, Chang Yen-ting, told United Daily News that the PLA’s use of drones to fly around Taiwan has become normal, and that this will put more pressure on Taiwan’s air defense.

Chang said that the PLA’s drone technology is quite proficient, staying in the eastern airspace for a long time, and that China is probing our military’s various air defense signals and radar spectrums. If the PLA gets a more complete understanding of these signals this would be very unfavorable to our side in the event of a war. Chang urged the Ministry of National Defense to respond as soon as possible, and make deployments to disrupt the reconnaissance ability of the PLA drones.

Japan’s defence ministry said that it had scrambled a jet after spotting a drone between Yonaguni Island and Taiwan yesterday, according to a Reuters report.

The drone flight was one of 27 aircraft sorties monitored by Taiwan’s MND between 6:00 am yesterday and 6:00 am today. According to the MND, 13 aircraft sorties and 7 ships crossed the center line of the Taiwan Strait. The MND said that it had deployed aircraft, ships, and shore-mounted missile systems to monitor and respond.

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