Taiwan under fresh threat as advanced refueling plane enters air zone

Courtesy of Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense
A Y-20 aerial refueling plane, the same model as the aircraft that intruded into Taiwan’s air-defense identification zone on Sunday

TAIPEI — The intrusion Sunday of a state-of-the-art Chinese aerial refueling plane poses a serious new threat to Taiwan.

A Y-20 refueling aircraft was among 27 Chinese military planes that entered Taiwan’s air-defense identification zone in the southwest, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense. It was the first time for a Y-20 aircraft to intrude into the ADIZ.

Military experts cited by the Central News Agency of Taiwan said a Y-20 can transfer 60 to 65 tons of fuel in flight, or about three times the amount of earlier models. This will greatly increase fighters’ flight times and weapon loads.

If numerous Y-20s are deployed, the Chinese Air Force will become an expedition-type fleet that can conduct airstrikes on the eastern shores of Taiwan and prevent U.S. forces from approaching Taiwan in the western Pacific.