Japan scrambled fighter jets more than 1,000 times in FY2021 to intercept foreign aircraft TOU

Japan scrambled fighter jets more than 1,000 times in FY2021 to intercept foreign aircraft


Japan scrambled fighter jets more than 1,000 times in FY2021 to intercept foreign aircraft

Asia Defense | Security | East Asia

It was the second-highest scrambles in a year, representing the deteriorating security environment around Japan.

The Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) scrambled its fighter aircraft 1,004 times in FY2021 (FY 2021) as foreign military aircraft approached the country’s airspace. This is the second highest total recorded in a single year since such operations began in 1958, indicating growing regional tensions.

The Ministry of Defense (MOD) in Tokyo said in a statement on April 15 that the total number of scrambles has increased by 279 over the previous financial year. He also said that only two Russian aircraft out of foreign aircraft violated Japanese airspace.

The latest announcement by Tokyo comes amid growing tensions over regional disputes between Japan and some neighboring countries, such as China and Russia.

JASDF fighters responded to the movement of Chinese aircraft in the area 722 times (72 percent of the total), up 264 from FY20 and the second largest number annually, according to the MoD.

Tokyo also scrambled fighters 266 times (26 percent of the total) in response to Russian aircraft, eight more than in the previous fiscal year. The remaining incidents (2% of the total) involved aircraft from other countries, including Taiwan.


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Most of these incidents involved JASDF’s Northern Air Defense Force (217 Scrambles) and the Southwestern Composite Air Division (652). The latter oversees areas including the disputed Senkaku / Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, which are controlled by Japan but also claimed by China and Taiwan.

The largest number made by JASDF in one year was in FY16, reaching 1,168. At the time, Beijing increased its claim to the uninhabited islands after Japan bought three of them from private citizens and brought them under state control in 2012.

Japan’s Defense Minister Kishi Nobuo stressed at a press conference on April 15 that the JASDF had sent 12 fighters to intercept a People’s Liberation Army Navy Air Force (PLANAF) aircraft that was seen crossing the Miyako Strait, which is the Bay of Plenty in the Pacific. . Located between the southern Japanese islands of Okinawa and Miyako. In contrast, JASDF was sent to such air interception operations only four times during FY2020.

The Chinese aircraft involved were most notably the Shanxi Y-9 intelligence gathering aircraft, but also drones.

Kishi said Beijing is “intensifying activities that are considered intelligence gathering”, adding that such flights have become “diverse and sophisticated”.

“In China, there has been a rapid development of a wide variety of unmanned aerial vehicles,” he warned.

Data released by the Japanese MoD also show that two Xian H-6 bombers, along with two Russian Tu-95 bombers, were seen crossing the Sushima Strait, across the Sea of ​​Japan (East Sea), Yellow Sea (West Sea). Attach. , And the East China Sea on November 19, 2021. Those bombers have expanded their activities from the East China Sea to the Pacific Ocean in recent years.

In its 2021 Defense White Paper, Japan expressed “strong concern” over China’s activities in the East and South China Seas.

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