Call it the Chinese power projection, the state-controlled CGTN news channel released a 60-second video showing the Y-8Q anti-submarine warfare plane.
This development comes in the wake of deepening engagement between Taiwan and the United States and increased belligerence by China against the autonomous island state.
Video of the PLA Navy’s Y-8Q aircraft, also known as the KQ-200, surfaced even as Taiwan claimed at least 5 Chinese fighter jets had entered its identification area of air defense (AIDZ) on November 24. This was the 23rd intrusion in November alone. , as reported by Taiwan News.
The plane that entered the ADIZ included a Y-8 anti-submarine plane that the CGTN showed in its video, with the exception of four J-16 fighters.
Since September 2020, when the PLA Air Force launched regular intrusions into Taiwan’s airspace, the KQ-200 or Y-8Q ASW aircraft have been involved in 70% of all sorties. , according to an article written by Olli Pekka Suorsa, assistant professor at Rabdan Academy in the United Arab Emirates.
The aircraft has filled a significant capacity gap for the Naval Air Force PLA (PLANAF) since it entered service with Eastern Theater Command in 2018 and Southern Theater Command later.
It allows PLANAF to continuously monitor the activity of submarines and foreign surface vessels at sea choke points and critical sea communication routes or near along the First Island Chain.
With US warships sailing the Taiwan Strait, including the recent USS Milius to track what it calls “freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific, China’s Y-8Q video could be seen as a signal to the US Navy as well as to its allies. In the region. The USS Milius has reportedly crossed the Taiwan Strait 11 times this year, much to China’s disenchantment.
China has strongly protested against the entry of the USS Milius into the strait, calling it a “deliberate attempt to disrupt and undermine regional peace and security,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said.
In December of last year, a Chinese PLA anti-submarine warfare aircraft was seen delivering a new type of depth charge during a training exercise, demonstrating its unsuccessful capabilities. only to detect but also to hit enemy submarines. News of the exercise came just a week after Taiwan announced the start of construction on its new submarine fleet.
China’s anti-submarine warfare
The Y-8Q is China’s first locally developed and built fixed-wing anti-submarine patrol aircraft. A variant of the Y-8 cargo plane, the Y-8Q combines reconnaissance, analysis and assault capabilities. It is mainly used to track and attack enemy submarines. To recognize targets on the surface, it has an infrared detection system, charge coupled device (CCD) cameras and laser rangefinders.
The Y-8Q would be equipped with the world’s most advanced magnetic anomaly detectors capable of detecting demagnetized submarines underwater.
The Y-8Q has a surface search radar in the nose, an electro-optical payload under the fuselage, and a magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) in the tail. It has four soundbuoy deployment openings (AVIC SQ-4 and SQ-5), as well as a cargo bay that can hold depth charges and torpedoes.
It is built on the Y-8 Category III platform and is fitted with six-bladed WJ-6C turboprop engines. The Shaanxi Aircraft Corporation (SAC) manufactured the Y-8, a medium transport aircraft based on the Soviet An-12. The aircraft has a range of approximately 5,000 km and a patrol range of approximately 10 hours.
A recent analysis by Olli Pekka Suorsa suggests that Chinese ASW planes are flying over a certain area of interest in the northern part of the South China Sea. The area is roughly halfway between the large port city of Kaoshiung on mainland Taiwan and the island of Pratas.
Two natural submarine interception locations against US Navy nuclear powered assault submarines are detected in this area.
The Bashi Channel and the Luzon Strait offer the first opportunity, with shallow water and few natural hiding places. The upward slope of the South China Sea, a key feature of the undersea topography between the South China Sea and mainland China, provides the second interception opportunity to enter the Taiwan Strait.
The US Navy regularly assigns its own anti-submarine and maritime patrol aircraft, the Boeing P-8A Poseidon, to the same geographic area. This also explains the interest of the Chinese Y-8Q for this particular region.
So while the PLAAF has expressed its ambition to reunite Taiwan with mainland China, the deployment of its anti-submarine aircraft is also a subtle message to its great Western rival.
US Navy Poseidon P-8A
The Poseidon is considered one of the most advanced multi-mission patrol aircraft used by the US Navy. The P-8A is equipped to perform a multitude of operations, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and humanitarian response.
These capabilities are enhanced through secure, interoperable and network ready systems. The aircraft has a high quality weapon system as well as an open architecture that allows for future expansion.
The US Navy often deploys these planes to the Indo-Pacific region, much to China’s dismay. The Poseidons also frequent the Taiwan Strait and the airspaces of its allies in the region.
The United States has armed Australia and India, China’s two other rivals in the region, in an attempt to bolster their own network of security architecture in the Indo-Pacific.
India’s P-8I Neptune
India is a major buyer of the US maritime patrol aircraft alongside Australia. With China’s acquisition of a series of ports in Myanmar, Iran, Sri Lanka and Djibouti, the Indian Navy remains on high alert, which was its main focus behind the purchase of the aircraft. P-8I, as previously reported by the Eurasian Times.
The P-8 is not limited to the oceans; it can also carry out missions in the border regions of China and Pakistan.
During the clash with China, the Indian Navy deployed the P-8I Neptune to Ladakh as a surveillance platform, supporting its MiG-29Ks and the MiG-29UPG, Mirage-2000 and Su-30MKI of Indian Air Force.
The platform has proven to be effective in observing and administering combat, as demonstrated during the 73-day standoff at Doklam in 2017. India secured delivery of its tenth P aircraft -8I to strengthen its reconnaissance and surveillance capacities.