skip to main content

Update: China-Russia joint air patrol improves air-sea co-ordination

The joint China-Russia strategic air patrol on 14 December involved a core of four bombers and 13 other Chinese-Russian aircraft, which joined the flight at various times and places. A Chinese naval destroyer operating in the area was also likely involved in the drill. A bilateral US-Japan air exercise was also conducted over the Sea of Japan (East Sea) at the same time. (Japan Ministry of Defense/US Pacific Air Forces/South Korea Joint Chiefs of Staff/Janes)

Chinese and Russian military forces have conducted their second joint strategic air patrol of 2023 in an effort to improve their air and naval force co-operation.

The joint air patrol, which was conducted on 14 December, comprised a nucleus of two Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) XAC H-6K and two Russian Federation Tupolev Tu-95 strategic bombers. An estimated 13 other Russian and Chinese combat aircraft participated in the patrol at various stages, according to the Japan Ministry of Defense (MoD).

Several of the Russian-Chinese aircraft appeared to have also co-ordinated with a Type 055 destroyer of the PLA Navy (PLAN) operating in the Sea of Japan (East Sea). Chinese state-owned media described the joint air operation as a possible “sea-air integration operation”.

According to the Japan MoD, the Type 055 destroyer passed northwards into the Sea of Japan (East Sea) through the Tsushima Strait between 11 and 12 December.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...