skip to main content

More JASDF fighter scrambles in first quarter compared with 2021

Military aircraft from China and Russia, which have approached Japanese airspace, have been the primary cause of Japan Air Self-Defense Force fighter scrambles. (Janes)

The Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) scrambled its fighter aircraft 235 times in the first quarter of 2022. This represents a 65% increase over scrambles in a similar period in 2021.

Data released by the Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) on 6 July shows that 142 scrambles were conducted in the first quarter of 2021. The Japan MoD data also shows that the 2022 first quarterly scramble figure has exceeded 200 for the first time since 2019.

“The number of scrambles in the first quarter of 2022 is relatively high. It can be said that it is at a high standard,” the Japan MoD said in a statement.

The MoD attributed the increased number of scrambles to sustained activities by Chinese aircraft.

The data specifies that JASDF aircraft conducted 171 scrambles in response to Chinese military aircraft during the first quarter of 2022. Fifty-eight scrambles were conducted in response to military aircraft from the Russian Federation.

Tokyo cited long-range flights by Chinese H-6 bombers and Russian Tu-95 bombers as a cause, plus drills by carrier-based fighter aircraft and helicopters operating from the People's Liberation Army (PLA) carrier Liaoning.

“Chinese aircraft will pass between the main island of Okinawa and Miyakojima, and Russian aircraft will fly into the Sea of Japan,” the MoD said.

“The ratio of the number of scrambles by target country or region, including the estimate, is about 73% for Chinese aircraft, and about 25% for Russian aircraft,” the MoD added.

The data highlights regional tensions between Japan and neighbouring countries.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...