South Korean Navy Destroyer Directs Fire-Control Radar at Japanese P-1 Patrol Aircraft

A Republic of Korea (South Korea) Navy Gwanggaeto the Great-class destroyer has directed a fire-control radar at a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) P-1 fixed-wing patrol aircraft.

The incident occurred off the coast of the Noto Peninsula at around 3 p.m. (JST) on Dec. 20, the Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced on Dec. 21.

The P-1 patrol aircraft involved in the incident belonged to the Fleet Air Wing 4 of the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) (Atsugi).

Detailed statement from Japanese MoD:

The Ministry of Defense, following the occurrence of the radar irradiation incident on the 20th, conducted a careful and detailed analysis on the data collected by the MSDF patrol aircraft’s equipment, and determined that a fire-control radar was used for the said radar irradiation by the ROK naval vessel. Given this fact, it should be noted that a fire-control radar is designed to be used to measure the precise orientation of and distance to an attack target, and that it is not suitable for searching over a wide range. Therefore, the use of a surface search radar is more appropriate for the purpose of searching for missing ships.

In addition, a fire-control radar irradiation is a hazardous act that may cause unintended consequences, which in relation to the ships and aircraft deployed in the surrounding area is a profoundly dangerous act, even if such an action was taken to search for a missing ship. Furthermore, the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES), also adopted by the ROK, lists the irradiation of a fire-control radar as an action to be withheld when encountering ships or aircraft.

Due to the reasons stated above, it is extremely regrettable that this incident occurred, and we will firmly request the ROK side to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.

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