In a recent row of events at the South China Sea when the PLA Air Force (PLAAF) tried to push into the Taiwanese islands during the visit of a top American diplomat, reports reveal that a brief dogfight ensued between the Taiwanese F-16s and the PLAAF Su-30MKK, in which the former forced the latter to retreat.
According to a news published by a Taiwanese news agency, the Su-30MKKs were providing escort to a Shaanxi Y-8 transport aircraft, when the Island’s fighters were scrambled to intercept it early that morning.
The scrambling of fighter jets is common and done by Taipei each time PLAAF intrudes into its airspace, however, this incident marked something different and more interesting.
On October 15, in an interview to TVBS, a retired ROCAF (Taiwan) pilot revealed that the incident took place on September 10th, when two F-16s were pursuing a PLAAF Y-8 aircraft to force its retreat from the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).
Jao Tzu-Chiang, the ex-pilot who revealed the incident, described that a Chinese Su-30MKK then descended from high altitude and approached to intercept the Taiwanese F-16s, to protect the Y-8.
In response, the F-16s ascended, increasing their altitude, seizing a superior position, and drove away the Su-30. While there are no confirmations from the Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense, the news has become the highlights and topic of talks in the defence circles.
Jao further explained that the Chinese warplane was flying at 30,000 ft and rapidly descended to intercept the F-16s. There were 2 F-16s against a Su-30, and the Taiwanese pilots trapped it from both sides.
“If our planes meet with theirs, we must hope that we can hide behind the enemy’s back and from above and then go in and trap him. When you trap him in this direction when he tries to move left or right or up and down, he has no way to react,” he described.
However, he also added that the Su-30MKK is indeed a very potent aircraft and can carry a much higher armament payload than the F-16s.
It is bigger and heavier, also more manoeuvrable, making it a capable dogfighter. Nevertheless, F-16s compensate this with their higher agility, more advanced weapons and superior avionics.
“When an F-16 and a Su-30 encounter each other in the air, either could possibly win. It depends on the precision of training and the aptitude and reaction of the pilots,” said Jao.
This event, if and when officially confirmed, marks a new chapter and provides an insight into the level of hostilities PLAAF and ROCAF face over the Taiwan Strait. The countries recently celebrated their National days, during which the intrusions even increased further.