Japan releases footage of South Korean destroyer’s radar lock-on on JMSDF patrol plane

Japan’s defense ministry has released footage of an incident on December 20 in which a Republic of Korea Navy destroyer trained its fire-control radar on a Japanese maritime patrol aircraft off the Noto Peninsula in the Sea of Japan.

Filmed from aboard the Kawasaki P-1 fixed-wing patrol aircraft of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (MSDF), the footage shows that destroyer ROKS Gwanggaeto the Great (DDH-971) directed a fire-control radar at the plane, Japan says.

As explained by Japan’s defense ministry, the footage contains scenes where the MSDF P-1 is hit multiple times continuously over a certain period by the fire-control radar.

The footage also shows that the MSDF P-1 called out “KOREA SOUTH NAVAL SHIP, HULL NUMBER 971” three times in English in an attempt to confirm the intent of the radar irradiation. In addition, it was recorded that the MSDF P-1 was flying at a certain altitude and distance safe enough from the destroyer.

South Korea said the destroyer did not direct its radar at the JMSDF plane adding that the vessel was in the process of rendering assistance to a North Korean ship drifting at sea.

Responding to South Korean claims, Japan said 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. A surface search radar is more appropriate for the purpose of searching for missing ships, the ministry added.