South Korea fired warning shots at a Russian A-50 after claiming the aircraft entered its air defence identification zone, say the South Korean Ministry of Defence.

The Russian jet breached the South Korean air defence identification zone twice say the country, prompting its air force to launch jets and fire warning shots according to local media.

The incursion came during what South Koreans officials claim was a joint Russian-Chinese military exercise. Two Chinese H-6 bombers had passed into Seoul’s air identification zone just hours before, joined by another two Russian military planes.

What is the difference between an identification zone and national airspace?

An air defense identification zone (ADIZ) is airspace over land or water in which the identification, location, and control of civil aircraft is performed in the interest of national security.[1] They may extend beyond a country’s territory to give the country more time to respond to possibly hostile aircraft.

The concept of an ADIZ is not defined in any international treaty and is not regulated by any international body.

South Korea operates a zone that covers most but not all of its claimed airspace. The zone was established in 1951, during the Korean War, by the United States Air Force to block communist forces. When part of or the whole flight route of an aircraft enter the KADIZ area, it is required to send a specific flight plan one hour prior to departure.

Civilian aircraft with regular routes should submit a repetitive flight plan to the air traffic control. There is no need for legal action when an aircraft enters KADIZ as long as the aircraft follows its flight plan reported to the South Korean government. If there is a change in the flight passage or an approach without prior notification, the South Korean air force has the right to immediately identify or track down the aircraft and be prepared for interception.

In response, South Korea reportedly deployed F-15F and KF-16 fighter jets and fired 360 warning shots ahead of the Russian aircraft, 80 during the first violation and 280 during the second.
The South Korean military said they also sent out 30 warnings to the Russian plane but received no response.
Russia’s defence ministry denied the violation and said South Korean pilots had not communicated with Russian aircraft, according to the state run RIA news agency.

The Beriev A-50 is a Russian airborne early warning and control aircraft based on the Ilyushin Il-76 transport. The existence of the A-50 was revealed to the West in 1980 by Adolf Tolkachev.

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I notice they state “air defence identification zone” and not territorial air space.

Seems like a bit of saber rattling by both sides.


They are completely different things. Air space means I own this. ADIZ means anything entering unscheduled will be targeted for being blown out of the sky. The difference is between flying through undefended territory and flying straight into a patrol.
For a example from a few decades ago see KAL flight 007 in 83. They were going to die the moment they overflew Sakhalin.


The point is they were firing at jets in international airspace, a dangerous thing to do.

Nigel Collins

As I’ve said many times on here before, both China and Russia will become a very real “joint” threat in the years ahead.

Both the UK and European governments really need to take this very seriously and start investing heavily in our armed forces NOW.


Can you define what you mean by threat Nigel? I am always curious about the US/UK definition of that word
But yes, cooperation between our countries has increased, we have many mutual interests and a common antagonist


Who’s the ‘common antagonist, Ulya?


America of course crabfat, they wish to maintain their current version of the world order, we want to build alternative options to better suit our interests. God willing it can be done peacefully and balance can be maintained, somes days I am not so sure it can

Harry Bulpit

And your interests being the people of Crimea who you’ve iligally occupied?


Feel free to go ask them what they think Harry, it’s a beautiful place

The artist formerly known as Los Pollos Chicken

Eh seriously? I’m afraid Russia is a far worse protagonist than the US ever is or has been. If you mean their current version of world order being Freedom as opposed to Russia’s state controlled autocratic anything but free version world order then it’s America every time. Russia is a dangerous state that cares little for its people or neighbours and has an abysmal track record since the start of the 20th century.History is there in black and white for all to see.

Purple Ronnie

In UK eyes its Russia as it is they that routinely fly heavy bombers in a direct line. the edge of UK airspace.

Nigel Collins

a statement of an intention to inflict pain, injury, damage, or other hostile action on someone in retribution for something done or not done.
“members of her family have received death threats”
synonyms: threatening remark, warning, ultimatum, intimidating remark; More
a person or thing likely to cause damage or danger.
“hurricane damage poses a major threat to many coastal communities”


The challenge to democracies is to avoid becoming authoritarian states like Russia & China etc. Trump seems to be an authoratarian sympathiser & UK/EU governments have been steadily bringing in legislation that would allow quicker authoratarian control. I don’t think the uber-Liberal anything goes route direction helps either: It pushes anyone with half a conciense towards authoratarians.

This is no time for more defence cuts. Our helplessness to defend our Gulf traffic has showed up the imbecility of cutting so far we can’t back up our words without extensive allied assistance.


“Trump seems to be an authoritarian sympathizer,” wow, talk about someone who knows little about America and it’s president. Need to stop watching BBC and CNN.


The EU can’t even defend itself let alot defend against China, ect


Our concern & outrage must be tempered by the fact the West has routinely flown through Soviet/PRC airspace with recce/intel filghts during the cold war & beyond.
Question is, are they sharing intel gathered with N Korea & for what purpose?
Is it just re-assurance or preperation for an attack?


Both Russia and the PRC see the current world order crumbling and are doing their best to position themselves for a big chunk of whatever is to follow. In Russia’s case though, if I were Putin I would be casting a very wary eye towards the PRC…



The cold war was a war and as such both sides infringed each others airspace etc. That was a long time ago. Russia seems to be looking to take advantage of any possible weaknesses in various parts of the world as is China. Let’s not forget that China has recently invaded the entity of the South China sea and is currently in hi g out towards Taiwan. Russia has invaded Crimea and parts of Ukraine and is looking to create divisions around the world. We need to reduce the defence cuts but more than that we need to call their… Read more »


The ROKN is also getting in on the aircraft carrier buildup…

Interesting how the ROK considers Japan more of a threat than the DPRK.



In the end whilst it would be bloody the ROK know that they could flatten the DPRK armed forces making them an irritant more than anything else. Japan on the other hand is a regional rival when it comes to various territorial claims and is very much a peer rival when it comes to military capabilities. Add in some rather awkward history between the two and we are where we are now. Considering the Japanese Government and JMSDF have made clear noises about buying F-35B to operate off their (totally not an aircraft carrier) Helicopter Destroyers to specifically protect their… Read more »


I absolutely agree with you on the root cause being historical, however, Korean governments have used the “Japanese threat” as a cover to further their agendas for decades. Knowing that the DPRK has no credible blue water capability, the ROK justifies its naval expansion spending by citing territorial threats from Japan. Case in point: the lead Dokdo class LPH discussed here is named after disputed islands that are claimed by both the ROK and Japan. The occupation of Korea by Japan after the Chinese defeat in the Sino-Japanese war (which was brutal to the point that the Korean peninsula was… Read more »


great insight

Daniele Mandelli

Fascinating reading Helions.


Thank you both.


Nigel Collins

Let’s not find ourselves sleep walking into a situation we are unable to protect our interests or our allies.

“Russia says it has carried out its first ever joint air patrol with China, prompting both South Korea and Japan to send jets in response.”

andy reeves

not the birghtest thing to do