ROKAF fighters fired more than 300 warning shots at a Russian Beriev A-50 AEW&C aircraft that had twice violated the South Korea airspace.
China has released the video of joint bomber patrol conducted with Russia on Jul. 23, 2019 above a small, disputed island off the coast of South Korea and Japan.
As we have previously explained, on the same day South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a statement claiming that after a Russian Beriev A-50 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft had twice violated the country’s airspace, Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) fighters had fired more than 300 warning shots at it, the first such incident between the countries.
However Moscow denied Seoul’s account of the encounter, claiming that South Korean military jets had dangerously intercepted two of its bombers during a planned flight over neutral waters.
Instead Japan’s Ministry of Defense backed up South Korea’s claims, saying the A-50 had flown over the islands and that Tokyo had scrambled fighters to intercept.
Both South Korea and Japan said that two Chinese H-6 bombers had joined the Russian military aircraft on sorties through the region as well.
The confrontation took place over disputed islands in the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan, in the morning of Jul. 23.
The two, small islands, known to the Koreans as Dokdo and to the Japanese as Takeshima, are claimed by both countries.
The reason that sparked the confrontation between the warplanes remains unknown, but analysts said the mission may have been designed by Russia to draw out South Korean and Japanese aircraft for intelligence gathering purposes.
According to South Korea, two Chinese H-6 bombers passed into Seoul’s Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ) beginning from 6.44 a.m., joined by two Russian Tu-95 strategic bombers.
The four planes then entered the KADIZ together at about 8.40 a.m. and remained there for 24 minutes.
After the KADIZ flyover, Seoul said a Russian A-50 flew above the contested islands first at 9.09 a.m. local time and then again at 9.33 a.m., each time for just a matter of minutes.
In response, South Korea deployed F-15 and F-16 fighter jets, the statement said, and fired 360 warning shots ahead of the Russian aircraft, 80 during the first violation and 280 during the second. The shots were fired using 20mm guns, according to the country’s Ministry of Defense.
The South Korean military said they also sent out 30 warnings to the Russian plane but received no response.
The Russian Defense Ministry furiously denied the South Korean reports and accused South Korean fighter pilots of acting inappropriately.
“(They) conduced unprofessional maneuvers by crossing the course of Russian strategic missile carriers, threatening their security,” the ministry said in a statement Tuesday. The statement made no mention of the A-50.