A Japanese Air Self Defense Force F-15 fighter © Kyodo / Reuters
Japan Times: Japan’s fighter jet scrambles set new record in 2016 amid surging Chinese military activity
Japan scrambled fighter jets to intercept foreign aircraft approaching its airspace at a record pace in the fiscal year to March, figures released by the Defense Ministry showed Thursday, as China’s military sought to break out further into the Western Pacific.
The 1,168 scrambles were the most since records began being kept in 1958, besting the previous high of 944 — a figure that came at the height of the Cold War in 1984.
Of the total, 851 scrambles, or 73 percent, came in response to Chinese flights, 280 more than in the previous fiscal year. The figure was the largest since the Air Self-Defense Force began publicizing the number of scrambles against each country.
ASDF encounters with Russian aircraft — often bombers that skirt Japan’s airspace — rose to 301, or 26 percent of the total.
No aircraft violated Japanese airspace in fiscal 2016, which ended on March 30, the Defense Ministry said.
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