China’s J-20 stealth fighters will likely patrol Taiwan’s airspace soon — and the island nation is ready to counter

China's J-20 stealth fighter.

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China’s J-20 stealth fighter.
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Wikimedia Commons

  • Beijing has repeatedly hinted that its new J-20 stealth fighters will conduct patrols in Taiwan’s airspace to coerce the island nation to reunify with China.
  • But Taiwan has a plan to counter China’s J-20: new mobile passive radars and new active radars for its F-16Vs.
  • One expert believes Taiwan’s plan will be effective but still sees the country as unlikely to be able to defend its airspace as well as major powers such as the US.

A Chinese military analyst over the weekend told the state-run China Central Television that Beijing would soon fly its new J-20 stealth fighter into Taiwan’s airspace.

“J-20s can come and go at will above Taiwan,” Wang Mingliang, a military researcher at China National Defense University, said, according to Asia Times, adding that Taiwan was worried about “precision strikes on the leadership or key targets.”

This threat was also echoed by Zhou Chenming, another Chinese military analyst, less than two weeks ago.

“The PLA air force jets will enter the Taiwan [air defense identification zone] sooner or later,” Chenming told the South China Morning Post.

China officially put the J-20 into combat service in February and earlier this month said the aircraft had flown its first sea training mission. But it’s still unclear whether the J-20 is operating with the new WS-15 engines or older WS-10G engines.

China’s “goal is reunification with Taiwan” and “this is just one piece,” Dan Blumenthal, the director of Asian Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, told Business Insider, adding that cyber, sea, and political warfare were also part of Beijing’s plan to coerce Taiwan into reunification.

Chengdu J-20

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Screenshot via hindu judaic/YouTube

But Taiwan has a plan to counter China’s J-20: new mobile passive radars and new active radars for their F-16Vs, according to Taipei Times.

Taiwan will begin testing two new mobile passive radars developed by the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology this year and plans to begin mass producing them by 2020.

These passive radars will work in tandem with APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radars, which Taiwan started mounting on its F-16Vs in January 2017, Asia Times reported.

The active and passive radars will be linked in a way so that they do not emit radiation, making them less susceptible to electronic jamming and anti-radiation missile attacks, Asia Times reported.

“It’s exactly what they should be doing,” Blumenthal said. “Just like any country would, they’re going to try to chase [the J-20s] away,” adding that Taiwan’s plan would be effective but that the country still wouldn’t be able to defend its airspace as well as major powers such as the US.

“Taiwan could probably use all sorts of help,” Blumenthal said.