Japan scrambles jets for drone near disputed islands

TOKYO —SOURCE

Japan scrambled fighter jets Monday after an unidentified drone flew near Tokyo-controlled islands at the centre of a bitter dispute with China, a defence ministry spokesman said.

It was the first reported incident of its kind.

Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force sent an unspecified number of jets to the area, the official said.

The drones did not enter Japanese airspace, the official said.

A second Japanese defense ministry official said the nationality of the drone was not clear, but added that it came from the northwest and and was last seen flying back in that direction.

China does have drones but when asked about the incident, foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said: “I am not aware of the situation.”

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Russian Bombers Fly Over Japan

Japan’s defense ministry says jets scrambled after 2 Russian Tu-95 bombers entered Japanese airspace near Okinoshima island

This handout picture taken by Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force on February 7, 2013 shows a Russian fighter jet SU27 encroaching on Japan’s territorial airspace. (AFP/DEFENSE MINISTRY VIA JIJI PRESS)

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TOKYO: Japan scrambled fighter jets on Thursday after a pair of Russian bombers briefly intruded into the country’s airspace, officials said.

The two Tu-95 planes breached airspace near the isle of Okinoshima, off Fukuoka in southern Japan, for nearly two minutes shortly after midday (0300 GMT), a defence ministry spokesman said.

“A total of four F-2 planes from the Air Self-Defense Force scrambled against them,” the official said.

The Japanese foreign ministry said it filed a formal protest with the Russian embassy in Tokyo over the violation and urged them to investigate it.

In February, two Russian Su-27 fighters breached Japan’s airspace for just over a minute off the northern island of Hokkaido, Japanese officials said at that time, in what was reported to be the first such incident in five years.

Tokyo and Moscow never signed a peace treaty after World War II. Despite an important commercial relationship, they remain at loggerheads over the sovereignty of islands north of the Japanese main island of Hokkaido.

Japan is also at odds with China over the sovereignty of an island chain near Taiwan, in a particularly bitter dispute that has seen both sides scramble aircraft.

– AFP/gn

Russian manufacturer to sell 10 MiGs to Syria

A Russian-made MiG-29 fighter jet (photo credit: Dmitry A. Mottl/Wikimedia Commons)

A Russian-made MiG-29 fighter jet (photo credit: Dmitry A. Mottl/Wikimedia Commons)

Amid reports of a delay in delivery of advanced S-300 air-defense missiles to Assad, new fighter jets deal could prove deadly to rebels

May 31, 2013

MOSCOW — A Russian arms manufacturer says it is signing a contract to deliver at least 10 fighter jets to Syria.

Sergei Korotkov, general director of the MiG company that makes the jets, told Russian news agencies Friday that a Syrian delegation was in Moscow to discuss terms and deadlines of a new contract supplying MiG-29 M/M2 fighters to Syria.

Iranian Jet Tries to Intercept U.S. Drone

An Iranian fighter jet tried to intercept a U.S. Predator drone over the Gulf but backed off.

Iranian-made jets fly over the sea off the coast of Chabahar city, south of Iran
AFP photo

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An Iranian fighter jet tried to intercept a U.S. Predator drone over the Gulf but backed off after encountering two American military aircraft, the Pentagon said Thursday, according to AFP.

No shots were fired in the confrontation Wednesday, officials said, but the United States renewed a vow that it would protect its forces in the region.

The Pentagon initially said one of the U.S. aircraft discharged a flare as a warning to the Iranian plane but officials later said no flare was let off.

The incident, which the Pentagon said took place over “international waters,” highlighted the tensions between the two arch-foes and the risks of an accidental clash escalating into a serious crisis.

At one point the Iranian F-4, an old U.S.-built warplane dating from the Vietnam War era, was within 16 miles of the unmanned Predator drone, spokesman George Little said, according to the AFP report.

The unarmed Predator, the workhorse of America’s fleet of robotic planes, was carrying out “a routine classified surveillance flight” over the Gulf when it was approached by the Iranian warplane, he said in a statement.

In November, an Iranian fighter jet fired at a Predator plane, provoking a strongly-worded protest from the United States.

As after the November incident, the Pentagon warned it would keep up surveillance flights over what it deems international waters and to safeguard U.S. forces in the region.

Little said that “we reserve the right to protect our military assets as well as our forces and will continue to do so going forward.”

Iran later accused the United States of carrying out “illegal and provocative acts” in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman, including repeated violations of Iranian airspace.

In December 2011, the Iranians captured a sophisticated Sentinel spy drone after it crashed on Iranian territory, in an embarrassment for Washington.

The United States expanded its military presence around the Gulf over the past year, deploying minesweepers and F-22 fighters to the area.

This came after Iran threatened to block the strategic Strait of Hormuz in retaliation for tough international sanctions imposed over its nuclear program.

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