China's activities surrounding Japan's airspace

1.

In recent years, China has rapidly intensified its activities surrounding Japan's airspace, expanded its operational areas, and diversified its flight patterns. Concrete examples are as follows.

Scrambles Against Chinese Aircraft

Example of Flight Patterns of Chinese Aircraft
(Click to enlarge)

On December 13, 2012, a fixed-wing aircraft (Y-12) belonging to the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) of China intruded into Japanese airspace above the Senkaku Islands, which is an inherent territory of Japan. In response to this incident, Japanese Government immediately made a strong protest to the Chinese Government through the diplomatic channels. Even after this incident, aircraft belonging to SOA has continued to fly by Japan's territorial airspace, and we have confirmed such cases for 13 times since then. (The most recent case was on March 23, 2014.)

[ Flight Patterns of Chinese aircraft (Y-12) around the Senkaku Islands (After December 13, 2012) ]
Flight Patterns

*This animation is an image of the simplified flight patterns.

Flight pattern 1: 24.12.22  PLAY/STOP
Flight pattern 2: 24.12.24  PLAY/STOP
Flight pattern 3: 24.12.25  PLAY/STOP
Flight pattern 4: 24.12.26  PLAY/STOP
Flight pattern 5: 25. 1. 5  PLAY/STOP
Flight pattern 6: 25. 1.11  PLAY/STOP
Flight pattern 7: 25. 1.15  PLAY/STOP
Flight pattern 8: 25. 2.28  PLAY/STOP
Flight pattern 9: 25. 8.26  PLAY/STOP
Flight pattern10: 25.10. 1  PLAY/STOP
Flight pattern11: 26. 1. 7  PLAY/STOP
Flight pattern12: 26. 2.21  PLAY/STOP
Flight pattern13: 26. 3.23  PLAY/STOP
Fixed-wing aircraft (Y-12)
Y-12
(Photograph taken by ASDF)
Y-12 Specifications
(Source) Jane's All the World's Aircraft
Length overallApprox. 15m
Wing spanApprox. 17-19m
Speed344km
(Maximum cruising speed)
RangeMore than 650km

2.

With regard to aircraft of Chinese People's Liberal Army (PLA), in January 2013, Chinese Ministry of National Defense announced PLA aircraft activities in the East China Sea, which seemed regular surveillance activities and combat air patrols. In addition, scrambling Japanese fighters confirmed the passage of a Y-8 airborne early warning aircraft and a H-6 bomber between the Okinawa's main Island and Miyakojima Island into the Pacific Ocean for the first time, in July and September, respectively. Moreover, in October, two Y-8 airborne early warning aircraft and two H-6 bombers showed the same flight pattern as above for three consecutive days. In November, Tu-154 intelligence gathering aircraft flew in the East China Sea for two days in a row.

[ Flight Patterns of a Y-8 airborne early warning aircraft (July 2013) ]
Flight Patterns

*This animation is an image of the simplified flight patterns.


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Y-8
Y-8
(Photograph taken by ASDF)
Y-8 Specifications
(Source) Jane's All the World's Aircraft
Length overallApprox. 33-34m
Wing span38m
Speed550km
(Maximum cruising speed)
Range1,272-5,615km

[ Flight Patterns of a H-6 bomber (September 2013) ]
Flight Patterns

*This animation is an image of the simplified flight patterns.


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H-6
H-6
(Photograph taken by ASDF)
H-6 Specifications
(Source) Jane's All the World's Aircraft
Length overallApprox. 35m
Wing spanApprox. 34m
Speed785km/h
(Maximum cruising speed)
Range4,300-6,000km

[ Flight patterns of a Y-8 airborne early warning aircraft and a H-6 bomber (October 2013, three consecutive days) ]
Flight Patterns

*This animation is an image of the simplified flight patterns.

Y-8(1 aircraft):
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Y-8(1 aircraft):
PLAY/STOP
Y-8
Y-8
(Photograph taken by ASDF)
Y-8 Specifications
(Source) Jane's All the World's Aircraft
Length overallApprox. 33-34m
Wing span38m
Speed550km
(Maximum cruising speed)
Range1,272-5,615km
H-6(2 aircrafts):
PLAY/STOP
H-6
H-6
(Photograph taken by ASDF)
H-6 Specifications
(Source) Jane's All the World's Aircraft
Length overallApprox. 35m
Wing spanApprox. 34m
Speed785km/h
(Maximum cruising speed)
Range4,300-6,000km

[ Flight patterns of a Tu-154 intelligence gathering aircraft (November 2013, two consecutive days) ]
Flight Patterns

*This animation is an image of the simplified flight patterns.

Flight pattern1:
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Flight Patterns

*This animation is an image of the simplified flight patterns.

Flight pattern2:
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Tu-154
Tu-154
(Photograph taken by ASDF)
Tu-154 Specifications
(Source) Jane's All the World's Aircraft
Length overallApprox. 48m
Wing spanApprox. 38m
Speed935km
(Cruising speed)
RangeMore than 3,700km

3.

Furthermore, on November 23, the Chinese Government set "East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone", which includes Senkaku Island's airspace which is an inherent territory of Japan. Chinese Ministry of National Defense announced that it would oblige aircraft flying in the zone to abide by its domestic procedures, and would take "defensive emergency measures" by Chinese Armed Forces in case where such aircraft does not follow the instructed procedures. China's establishment of such zone and obliging its own rules within the zone are profoundly dangerous acts that unilaterally change the status quo in the East China Sea, can escalate the situation, and may cause unintended consequences in the East China Sea. The announced measures unduly infringe the freedom of flight in international airspace, which is the general principle of international law, and have no validity whatsoever on Japan. The Japanese Government made a strong protest through the diplomatic channels and demands China to revoke any measures which could infringe the freedom of flight in international airspace( 2013.11.24 Statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Link to Ministry of Foreign Affairs)). The same day, a Tu-154 intelligence gathering aircraft and a Y-8 airborne early warning aircraft have flew in the East China Sea, respectively. PLA Air Force publicized that they conducted their first patrol flight after setting the "East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone".

Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ)

[ Flight pattern of a Tu-154 intelligence gathering aircraft and a Y-8 airborne early warning aircraft (November 2013) ]
Flight Patterns

*This animation is an image of the simplified flight patterns.

Tu-154 :
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Tu-154
Tu-154
(Photograph taken by ASDF)
Tu-154 Specifications
(Source) Jane's All the World's Aircraft
Length overallApprox. 48m
Wing spanApprox. 38m
Speed935km
(Cruising speed)
RangeMore than 3,700km
Y-8 :
PLAY/STOP
Y-8
Y-8
(Photograph taken by ASDF)
Y-8 Specifications
(Source) Jane's All the World's Aircraft
Length overallApprox. 33-34m
Wing span38m
Speed550km
(Maximum cruising speed)
Range1,272-5,615km

4.

In September 2013, a scrambling fighter confirmed what was presumed an unmanned aerial vehicle of unidentified nationality flying above the East China Sea.

[ Flight pattern of an Unmanned aerial vehicle (presumed) of unidentified nationality (September 2013) ]
Flight Patterns

*This animation is an image of the simplified flight patterns.

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Picture of the aircraft
Unmanned aerial vehicle
(Photograph taken by ASDF)

As the Japanese Government, in light of firm commitment to protect the territorial land, waters, and airspace of Japan, we will continue to conduct warning and surveillance activities by taking all possible measures. At the same time, we will comply with the international law and Self-Defense Forces law to conduct scrambles strictly.

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