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S Korean destroyer directs fire-control radar at MSDF plane

40 Comments
By Tetsushi Kajimoto and Hyonhee Shin

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There's no mistaking being lit up by a fire control radar or what it means to the target aircraft. There's no reason to lie about something like this, South Korea needs to tighten up their act.

16 ( +22 / -6 )

That situation is very dangerous. Because the alert alarms on the Japanese patrol plane were activated. Indicating that they were being signaled by AEGIS missiles. The alarm itself only indicates that they're pointing at you. But the pilots don't know if they're attacking you or not. They can only be a possible victim. I can assure you those pilots were really scared.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

If S korean defence ministry think the destroyer made mistake/error of targeting radar on Japanese plane, they should have imformed their mistake/error to Japanese defense minister first, because the destroyer already knew Japanese surveillance plane were flying up around there. If S korea really did it mistakenly, they should have apologized Japan as quickly as possible before Japanese defence ministry protested.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Fire-targeting radar is not regular radar. it means an engagement of fight (war). It can't be a mistake/error. they should inform mistake/error very quickly before fight starts.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

You cannot direct targeting radar on an airplane by mistake. It was obviously a deliberate act of the Korean destroyer. It seems like the whole nation of South Korea has gone berserk in recent years. The worst part of it is that the South Koreans are living in fantasy land and that they don’t know that their country is rapidly becoming irrelevant in the international community.

12 ( +17 / -5 )

Anyhow, the ROK Navy officially debunked JSMDF's claims, they were using search radars and JMSDF aircraft mistook the search radar signal for Fire-Control radar.

At least, several media including Korean reporting Korean navy official admitted the destoryer used Fire-Control Radar.

http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20181222000018

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Samit BasuToday 12:29 pm JST

@kwatt

Fire-targeting radar is not regular radar.

Indeed. But JMSDF P-1 cannot distinguish between two, as we have learned today.

You really are ignorant about these things aren't you.

A fire-targeting radar emits a constant radar signal against the target where as a radar in search mode scours the sky and only points any fixed point in space for less than a second. There is a lock on warning signal within any cockpit of a war plane so the P-1 pilots knew they were being targeted the moment the SK destroyer turned on that switch.

Turning on the targeting radar needs to go through various steps so it was NOT an accidental flip of a switch either.

Basically most all crew in CIC of the SK destroyer knew what they were doing and had to do it intentionally for this to happen.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

The official added that the Navy ship appears to have used both fire-control radar and navigation radar to more accurately locate the North Korean vessel moving toward the Northern Limit Line in the East Sea.

This is the lamest excuse I ever heard of.

First read my above explanation how fire-targeting radars operates and then re-read this excuse.

A war ship has a search radar which scans the air and ocean surface. A fire targeting radar can only fix onto a target with data fed from the search radar after going through strict protocol in which the operator verifying the target seeks permission from the XO to engage with the fire targeting radar. The XO must respond with a verbal order which everyone on CIC to hear to engage the fire targeting radar to engage onto the target.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

They accidentally locked on to a plane while searching for a ship? How could they accident target an air target while searching for a surface target...? Modern search radar is easily capable of identifying between the two.

South Korea royally screwed up and is pulling a Chinese ‘but we didn’t do it’.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

@samit batsu

Your opinion on the quality of the aircraft that was targeted is completely irrelevant. It could have been a 1935 era crop duster and South Korea still screwed up targeting it.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

If surveillance airplane were S Korea targeted by Japan's fire radar, no doubt that S Korea would report their airbase immediately and more fighter jets would fly there to shoot Japanese destroyer that emitted targeting signals. S Korea would say fire-targeting radar was engagement of battle, so we did it.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

 it cannot happen and the act was intentional 

 it cannot happen unless the act was intentional

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Some one aboard the Korean ship screwed up (or there is something much more worrying going on) in which case a detailed explanation and rapid apology is the only sensible and diplomatic response. People make mistakes and bloody awful decisions some times, but there is no excuse for politicians trying to cover it up. Apologise and discipline the officers responsible.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

More S. Korean aggressive behavior and unlawful conduct.

This is why Japan needs to change its relationship with S. Korea. Hasn't help Japan at all by being nice or playing the Korean games they like to play.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Too much tension is building up in this area of the world. Whatever the name of the sea or islands you choose to use, the fact is these two countries need to cooperate. South Korea needs to apologize.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

A fire-targeting radar emits a constant radar signal against the target where as a radar in search mode scours the sky and only points any fixed point in space for less than a second. There is a lock on warning signal within any cockpit of a war plane so the P-1 pilots knew they were being targeted the moment the SK destroyer turned on that switch.

Turning on the targeting radar needs to go through various steps so it was NOT an accidental flip of a switch either.

Basically most all crew in CIC of the SK destroyer knew what they were doing and had to do it intentionally for this to happen.

Good to have Triring’s explanation which is backed up enough by more news coming out at this point that it cannot happen and the act was intentional so that Japanese Foreign Ministry bureau director will fly over to Seoul to directly complain.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Retired JASDF Chief Of Staff Tamogami Toshio pitched in on this controversy on Twitter. He's backing the Korean Navy's explanation of events over JMSDF's claims.

Man, Alarm went off , locked on not just once, continued for more than a minute,  speaking through wireless but no response at all. Isn't it emergency and very dangerous for P-1 pilots? How the heck P-1 pilots could know without being informed in advance or at least quick outright response , that it is NOT hostile action but just exercise or search for missing boats.

Hundreds of comments hanging on Tamogami's tweet are more persuading.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Bad blood boils rivers.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

As I've read elswhere and showchinmono's link mentions -

"...."The vessel used fire-control radar not because of the P-1, which was flying in Japan's air defense identification zone, but because we tried to trace a North Korean warship drifting near the inter-Korean sea border," a Navy official told Yonhap News Agency on condition of anonymity.

The official added that the Navy ship appears to have used both fire-control radar and navigation radar to more accurately locate the North Korean vessel moving toward the Northern Limit Line in the East Sea.

"We have already explained this to the Japanese government, stressing that we did not target the Japanese aircraft. It is a misunderstanding," he said.....",

so we should avoid getting hysterical about this and not start beating the war drums like some are inclined to do.

I'm sure SK is much, much more worried about NK infringing on it's security than Japan. When you share a land & sea border with a loose cannon who loves to sabre rattle, then tension must be high.

We don't know, but not hard to believeJapan's patrol plane (hardly a target) happened to be iin the zone where they were searching for a much more dangerous fish.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

[1 ] ---------

Is this true? if so,, it is terrible.

Twitter:

"A South Korean defense analyst was banned on TV after he said SK Defense Ministry is teaching soldiers that Japan, not North Korea, is the main enemy.

Then this locking of radar on Japanese aircraft happens.

What's the #MoonJaein admin doing?"

https://twitter.com/DrTaraO/status/1076313050397855744

[2] ---------

Also I want to add that Moon administration proposed the law which prohibits distorting history or glorify Japanese colonial rule and penalty is max 2years prison.

I think this censorship is very dangerous.

I remember old Korean guy who said life under Jpn rule was better than now was beaten up. You know, history has different perspectives and different things happened, could never be painted with a single color.

[3] ---------

Radar Target was locked.

I am wondering .

Do you think J air plains had a right to shoot Korean ship for self defense reason??

Because crew on J air plain could have thought that they would be shot down...

4 ( +6 / -2 )

BeerDeliveryGuyToday 07:51 am JST

To give the SK Navy the benefit of the doubt; maybe their surface search radars weren’t powerful enough and they had to turn on the fire control radar.

This doesn't actually work since the targeting radar and search radar works on different frequencies in which the fire targeting radar works in a much higher frequency similar to microwave which is absorbed by water vapor in the atmosphere so even with high energy output it doe not extend range. The search radar on a lower frequency has much longer range then a fire targeting radar because it is not disrupted by the atmosphere.

Fire targeting radar are for to lock on to target and not have the target get out of sight so that a semi-active missile can follow the waves that bounced off the target to hit it's prey.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

anonymous JMSDF Officer provided that might give some credibility to SK’s account

JMSDF or not he or she probably has zero knowledge on how targeting radar works since the targeting radar would be the last radar the person would resort to utilizing the targeting radar since it would be useless in high waves.

The ship in question is the Gwanggaeto the Great DDH-971, a Gwanggaeto the Great-class destroyer equipped with;

AN/SPS-49(V) 2D air search radar

Signaal MW 08 surface search radar

Daewoo SPS-95k navigation radar

2 × Signaal STIR 180 Fire control radars

The fire control radar developed by Thales is;

STIR

The STIR is a medium-to-long range tracking and illumination radar. The system has been designed primarily to control point and area defense missile systems such as NATO SeaSparrow, ESSM and Standard Missiles (SM-1 and SM-2).

A second application is the direct control of guns of various calibres. The STIR 180 with both I- and K-band facilities provides excellent low-level target tracking for missile and gun control.

All STIR configurations have optional TV/IR tracking capabilities.

STIR technology stands for high accuracy, excellent performance and extensive ECCM capabilities. STIR is a well-proven system. More than 150 STIRs are operational with eleven navies, including six NATO navies.

I and K bands within the radar frequencies are most susceptible to water vapor absorption making it meaningless as a surface tracking radar in high waves so why would a radar operator who has in-depth knowledge in radar technology would even consider utilizing the fire tracking radar knowing it would be useless to begin with?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I am furious about this news today. Was it a political stunt? It is hard to prove, but if it can, the SK Ambassador must be summoned to Tokyo Defense Ministry. It couldn't be an accident with a highly trained military. Those poor pilots deserve a big apology from SK President. SK is acting like the tributary state if communist PRC.

2 ( +14 / -12 )

In Korean culture, making excuses is commended, whereas apologizing is sinful. If a person makes excuses, that means he is still trying to be a friend of the victim. If he admits guilt and apologizes, that means is he is no longer a friend of the victim and so he is a betrayer.

So, how ridiculous it may sound, South Korean government will continue making excuses on this incident.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

BeerDeliveryGuyDec. 23 11:11 pm JST

SK still maintains that they were using the FC radar to maintain a weapons lock on a NK ship they were tracking and the targeting of the SDF plane was unintentional.

You know this is lie out of desperation since if they locked on to the NK ship with FC radar in open seas it will most certainly result in a military conflict with NK due to the situation I wrote above.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Seems the South Korean has done far far extreme than the North Koreans or Chinese !

2 ( +2 / -0 )

As extanker said, the SKoreans new exactly what they were doing, and as we have seen, human error is very possible. On slip and boom, we have a major incident.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Samit BasuToday 06:09 am JST

Reaching for staw?

Basically Tamogami is not saying that the incident did not happen. He is just saying the planes were not in imminent threat even if they were illuminated by the targeting radar which is not up for debate.

The problem is targeting a plane with fire targeting radar gives a strong and clear message towards the targeted air craft that we have locked on and can fire a missile at any moment provoking an armed conflict.

If the targeted P-1 were armed with ASMs they could have shot those missiles against the SK destroyers as means of self defense.

Is SK military willing to start an armed conflict with Japan like this?

I truly hope not.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

No apology from the ROK Navy!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Tiring

Yes I am aware of that, however there are a variety of situations that an anonymous JMSDF Officer provided that might give some credibility to SK’s account. The SK ship claims they were tracking a NK ship with all its scanners, due to the high waves interfering with their surface radar, while maintining a target lock on the NK ship and the SDF aircraft was illuminated because its was flying at low altitude far on the horizon on the same target trajectory. SK has already admitted carelessness in operating their FC radar.

There may also of course be more details that SK is not releasing, but I hardly think that a solo surface warfare ship will be the one to sound out the opening shots in a war.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I accept your explanation, as you have obviously researched the radar specs, but SK still maintains that they were using the FC radar to maintain a weapons lock on a NK ship they were tracking and the targeting of the SDF plane was unintentional.

Maybe the the SWO and XO were careless, maybe there was malicious intent, maybe they were just hot-headed and hotdogging... who knows until a more in-depth investigation is conducted and the results announced. (which will most likely not be)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

 if they locked on to the NK ship with FC radar in open seas it will most certainly result in a military conflict with NK

I agree, there is a huge possibility the SKN is making excuses or withholding information. However, N&SK do have frequent clashes on land and sea, usually with several casualties, but the retribution is generally commensurate to the original aggression and never really escalates.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I doubt this was intentional. And the those responsible need to be severely reprimanded. And if was not unintentional the consequences need to be considerably greater including a very serious internal investigation by the ROKN.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

To give the SK Navy the benefit of the doubt; maybe their surface search radars weren’t powerful enough and they had to turn on the fire control radar. Wasn’t it a few years ago that SK shipbuilders were busted for using cheap civilian fishing boat radars for their new Aegis and keeping extra money.

Or maybe the SWO and XO were drunk....

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Samits links seem to put a strong case.

If ultra-rightwing ex # 1 military honchoTamogami is believing the Korean version(omg), then for all intents and purposes, Japan Defense Inc looks amiss in it's appraisal of the case.

But stranger things have happened - Maybe Tamogami is taking side bets - lol.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Retired JASDF Chief Of Staff Tamogami Toshio pitched in on this controversy on Twitter. He's backing the Korean Navy's explanation of events over JMSDF's claims.

https://twitter.com/toshio_tamogami/status/1076127935558340609

https://twitter.com/toshio_tamogami/status/1076131106745765890

https://twitter.com/toshio_tamogami/status/1076129138245660672

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

With so many weapons about, things like this are bound to happen. There are even French and British warships wandering about these parts. My guess is they wanted to scare away the plane so something could be shipped to NK.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

@kwatt

Fire-targeting radar is not regular radar.

Indeed. But JMSDF P-1 cannot distinguish between two, as we have learned today.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

@expat

Neither side really has any credibillity, here.

The fact that the Korean destroyer was in a search and rescue mission at the time of incident would corroborate the Korean side of story.

Anyhow, Japanese weapons like the P-1 are greatly overrated by this "Nippon Sugoi!" non-sense sweeping Japan today but laughed at by outside world. There is a reason why the UK and New Zealand didn't even bother to put the P-1 on formal considerations against the Boeing P-8 when Japan offered them, and why Australia dropped the Soryu the first for not meeting Australian Navy's performance requirements even before entering the price negotiation stage with France and Germany for their subs.

This incident clearly shows that the electronics on the P-1 are subpar, and Japan must either improve them or rip them out and replace them with Western electronics.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Neither side really has any credibillity, here.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

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