U.S., Chinese And Russian Bombers Each Flew Air Patrols Over East China, Sea Of Japan Close To The Korean Peninsula In Last 24 Hours

Even the Russian Tu-95 Bears made a rare tour close to South Korea’s airspace yesterday.

Two Russian Tu-95MS strategic bombers briefly violated South Korea’s air defense identification zone (KADIZ) on Wednesday, prompting the country’s fighter jets to scramble to shadow the “intruders” for a few miles. The episode it’s worth of note since unlike the U.S. bombers, the Russian rarely fly close to the Korean peninsula.

Generally speaking an ADIZ is “the airspace over land or water in which the identification, location and control of civilian aircraft is performed in the interest of national security.”

ADIZs may extend beyond a country’s territory to give the country more time to respond to possible hostile aircraft: in fact any aircraft flying inside these zones without authorization may be identified as a threat and treated as an enemy aircraft, leading to an interception and VID (Visual Identification) by fighter aircraft.

“As the Russian aircraft entered the KADIZ in formation yesterday morning, a squadron of our Air Force jets made an emergency sorties,” said an officer to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.

The Russian planes, however, did not intrude into South Korea’s aerospace, he added.

According to the Russian MoD, during the trip the Russian Bears were accompanied by Russian Sukhoi Su-35S fighter jets and A-50 early warning and control aircraft. The flight was also intercepted by the Japan Air Self Defense Force.

Russia does not acknowledge the air defense identification zones of neighboring countries. Sometimes, its warplanes enter the zones which are a sort of defense-purpose concept neither stipulated in any state-to-state treaty nor regulated by any international body. As happened on the night of May 3, 2017, when a “mini-package” made of two Tu-95MS Bear bombers, escorted by two Su-35S Flanker-E jets, and supported by an A-50 Mainstay, flew inside the Alaskan ADIZ (Air Defense Identification Zone) and were intercepted by two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors some 50 NM to the south of Chariot, Alaska.

However, the Russian Bears were not the only bombers to fly in the region during the last 24 hours. Indeed, on Aug. 24, the JASDF had to intercept six Chinese Xian H-6K long-range strategic bombers (south of the KADIZ). Here below you can see the track they followed skirting Japan.

A more constant presence in the area are the U.S. B-1B Lancer bombers providing support to the CBP (Continuous Bomber Presence) from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. According to the reports, two “Bones” flew from Guam to South Korea on Aug. 24.

Indeed, U.S. B-52 and B-2 bombers routinely fly nuclear deterrence missions in the Asia-Pacific theater from both CONUS bases and Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. Sometimes, they also intrude the Chinese ADIZ: in November 2013, a flight of two U.S. B-52 bombers departed from Guam airbase entered the new Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over East China Sea close to the disputed islands without complying with any of the rules set by Beijing for the ADIZ. In that case, the mission intentionally skirted the disputed Diaoyu Islands (known as Senkaku islands in Japan).

A big thank you to @phxasc for the heads-up!

Top image credit: Sputnik News




About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


    • Don’t be fooled by turboprops.
      Any Tu-95MS is more modern than any B-52 and some Bones in US inventory.
      And they are currently being modernized to Tu-95MSM standard.
      B-52s should focus on dropping propaganda leaflets, that’s the kind of a mission where they can still be more or less effective.

  1. look around for this leroy account, he’s a laughably bad troll, such is his posted view on russian and american equipment.

    he’s all over various forums, doing the same thing, practising the same routine.

    • His old account (5000+) posts was deleted. I don’t know the reason but it’s obvious that he is on some kind of “misson”. I wonder what makes him hate Russia so much. Or maybe he just gets paid for it.

  2. TU-95MS more modern than current B52s…..err no! I have never seen the TU-95MS use TGP (Targeting Pods) to locate and designate targets for precision guided munitions or employ precision guided bombs. Other than cruise missiles, the TU-95MS can only employ tons of dumb bombs like a bomber of the Great Patriotic War! Not impressed…..

  3. How can you “violate” an ADIZ? They are a self proclaimed, not internationally agreed, unilateral concept and not internationally recognised. For example, the US refuses to recognise China’s enormous claimed ADIZ. Further, an ADIZ (as you pointed out) is for civilian aircraft that are due to enter the airspace of the country claiming the ADIZ – its completely irrelevant for another country’s military aircraft which are fully entitled to fly as close as 12 NM from the coast. As soon as you use the word “violate” when the Russian plane is operating in international airspace according to international law, the whole piece immediately sounds like a propaganda piece. Please stick to facts, rather than spin.

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