Philippine Air Force Chases Unknown Aircraft
On September 2, 2021, something entered the Philippine air space. It was an unidentified aircraft flying 21,000 feet flying at nearly 500 kilometers per hour heading northeast.
The Philippine Air Force (PAF) immediately scrambled two of its brand-new FA-50s—the ones it recently purchased from South Korea—to intercept the unknown intruder. It was 9:36 a.m. when the aircraft was intercepted and was given a radio challenge.
“It was challenged through radio calls and other electronic means. The decision was made to intercept it after no response came from the said aircraft,” PAF spokesperson Lt. Col. Maynard Mariano told reporters in a press briefing.
One of the Two FA-50 Jet Scambled by PAF to Intercept Unknown Aircraft
But the unknown aircraft suddenly changed direction and increased its speed to 740 kilometers per hour after the radio challenge, offering no response.
“At about four minutes into the intercept, the unknown aircraft changed direction towards the North and increased its speed to 400 knots (740 kph) and headed away from the Philippine airspace,” the PAF said in a statement.
A PAF Officer Issues a Radio Challenge to the Unknown Aircraft
The intercept and chase lasted only 10 minutes.
In a statement, the PAF said the Philippines is now in a better position to challenge incursions into its territory compared to the past.
“In past decades, aircraft flying without clearance would willfully violate the Philippine airspace knowing that they will not be challenged; today our airspace is being closely monitored jointly by the Philippine Air Force and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines,” the PAF said in a GMA report.
A Chinese Stealth Bomber?
Although the air force did not state what kind of aircraft intruded or the country it came from,
Filipinos on social media speculated it could be from China, particularly its famed H-20 stealth bomber.
But that speculation was shot down by The Drive:
“As for the possibility that this was China's H-20 stealth bomber, the chances of that are very low. The aircraft has not been unveiled and is not even thought to be in major flight testing, let alone flying missions over foreign countries.”
In other words, it would be very risky for China to be sending its most prized top-secret aircraft into unfriendly territory, particularly to the airspace of the oldest U.S. ally in Asia, to “test” its capabilities.