Some Japan Air Self Defense Force fighter jets carried out the first interceptions of China’s AEW aircraft patrolling the area few hours after the controversial ADIZ was established but more close encounters are to be expected: on Nov. 28, talking to state news agency Xinhua, People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) spokesman Shen Jinke said more fighter jets and an early warning aircraft were launched into the newly declared air defence zone.
The iarcraft conducted normal air patrols: “a defensive measure and in line with international common practices.”
So, what’s next?
Anything may happen, even if most probably Chinese jets will remain far away from Japanese or South Korean ones, that will continue to operate undistubed.
And, sooner or later, U.S. B-2s will be sent to fly an extended deterrence mission through the Chinese ADIZ.
The two aircraft departed from Guam airbase and flew close to the disputed islands without complying with any of the rules set by Beijing for the new ADIZ over Diaoyu Islands (known as Senkaku islands in Japan).
The question is: did China’s air defense detect them? Did they try to intercept the two B-52s?
The two bombers, unarmed and not escorted by any fighter plane, were involved in a previous planned exercise dubbed “Coral Lightening”.
The dispute about the islands in the East China Sea has surely played a role in the increase of People’s Liberation Army Air Force and Navy activity in the area.
However, not only Chinese fighters caused some concern to the JASDF: from July to September, the number of QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) departures in response to Russian planes, reached a peak of 105, up form only 31 of the previous quarter (April – June).
According to Japan’s Defense Ministry, Japan Air Self-Defense Force fighter jets were scrambled nine times against North Korean military aircraft between April and June, Japan Times reported on Jul.10.
These alert launches of Japanese fighter jets against North Korean planes were the first since 2009.
Image credit: U.S. Air Force
Kim Jong Un planes flew over the Sea of Japan (which South Korea calls the East Sea), but did never violate the Japanese airspace, according to the ministry, that went on to say that the North Koreans were probably gathering information (using which kind of planes?) after the Japanese Navy deployed its AEGIS destroyer in the area against the missil launch threaths by Pyongyang.
Interestingly, between April and June, much more scrambles were launced by the JASDF against Chinese aircraft, 69, and 31 times the cause of the alert take off were Russian aircraft. From January to March, China’s Air Force aircraft caused 146 launches by the Quick Reaction Alert cells, amid tensions caused by the Senkaku Islands dispute in the East China Sea.