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. 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.
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.