With much of the world’s attention focused on Ukraine, Taiwan’s air force recently grounded a number of its Dassault Mirage 2000 jet fighters after a training accident, followed by yet another incursion into the island state’s airspace by Chinese military aircraft. According to Reuters and Newsweek, Taiwan’s defense officials reported the Monday (March 14) incursion.
Analysts have suggested that China could follow the Russian Ukraine playbook with its own invasion of Taiwan. Whether the grounding of Taiwanese Mirages had anything to do with the most recent Chinese airspace incursion is unclear.
The incident on Monday involved a pilot on a training mission turning back to base for a reported mechanical issue, eventually ejecting over open water to be rescued by a helicopter. Taiwan responded by grounding its remaining Mirages, though other military aircraft remained in service.
Still, the 13-aircraft incursion into Taiwanese airspace doesn’t match a mission that saw 39 jets approach the island in January. That incident represented the largest Chinese incursion since more than 50 aircraft challenged Taiwanese territorial airspace in October 2021.