South Korean aviation fired warning shots to chase Russian military aircraft out of its airspace
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This is a serious incident that involved South Korean KF-15 and KF-16 fighter jets in a Russian “A” Mainstay A-50 aircraft. On July 22, the aircraft violated the airspace of South Korea twice, in the vicinity of the Dokdo archipelago, which is also the subject of a territorial dispute with Japan.
After entering the South Korean identification and air defense zone, the Russian air warplane flew into South Korea’s airspace around 9:09.
The South Korean Air Force then took off several F-15 and F-16 aircraft to intercept the intruder. After having sent several warning messages “in accordance with military procedures,” the hunters then fired flares and proceeded with “warning shots.” The A-50 “Mainstay” then obeyed, before leaving KADIZ (Korea’s air defense identification zone) around 9:15.
Only a little more than a quarter of an hour later, the Russian plane again entered restricted airspace from where it emerged after four minutes of flight, after other shots of flares. Then it definitely left the air defense zone shortly before 10 o’clock.
“It was the first time that a Russian military plane entered South Korea’s airspace, although some of them are spotted in KADIZ,” said Yonhap, the South Korean news agency.
According to the South Korean Ministry of Defense, the F-15s and KF-16s of the RoKAF [Republic of Korea Air Force] fired 360 warning shots during this incident [80 for the first intrusion, 280 for the second] and the warning shots were fired at the 20 mm gun.
This incident occurred after the entry, at about 6:44 am, of two Chinese H-6 bombers into the South Korean ID and Air Defense Zone, still in the Dokdo Archipelago. According to Seoul, they left after half an hour before returning 35 minutes later.
Then, these Chinese aircraft then accompanied two Russian bombers TU-95 “Bear” in the KADIZ around 8:40. The flight lasted 25 minutes, according to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCS). Again, the South Korean hunt has had to work to keep the intruders away.
According to Seoul, which will send an official protest note to Moscow and Beijing, there is every reason to believe that these violations were made as part of a joint Russian-Chinese exercise.
This intrusion of a Russian military aircraft into South Korean airspace comes three weeks after the G20 summit in Osaka [Japan]. On that occasion, South Korea and Russia welcomed the warming of their bilateral relations, with Russian President Vladimir Putin even saying that Seoul was “one of the main partners” of Moscow in Asia.
In addition, this incident occurred approximately one month after the intrusion of two Russian Tu-95MS into Japanese airspace.