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Tokyo, Seoul clash over S Korean warship's fire-control radar lock-on

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"South Korea has denied that the radar was used intentionally to track the Japanese plane and that no actions were taken that would pose a threat to the MSDF. South Korean media has reported that the radar had been used to search for a North Korean ship in distress."

A fire-control radar (FCR) is a radar that is designed specifically to provide information (mainly target azimuth, elevation, range and range rate) to a fire-control system in order to direct weapons such that they hit a target. They are sometimes known as targeting radars, or in the UK, gun-laying radars.

South Korea has admitted that it was used. If it was unintentional South Korea needs to come clean and apologize for the error. The South Korean media reports are nonsense.

17 ( +21 / -4 )

If it was unintentional South Korea needs to come clean and apologize for the error.

Agreed. This is very a serious indeed, and should not be made lightly. FCRs are supposedly pre-programmed with the capability to determine the foe-or-friend ID's prior to the fire-control's target acquisition.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Not being a radar tech, so this is a totally uneducated guess here, as it would seem to me that if they were looking for a North Korean ship in distress their radar would not be directed towards something flying overhead!

13 ( +14 / -1 )

South Korea has denied that the radar was used intentionally to track the Japanese plane and that no actions were taken that would pose a threat to the MSDF

Oh, yeah. But the problem was that the MSDF airplane attack alert alarms were activated. The Japanese pilots do not know the real situation at the time. They don't know if it's a mistake or not.

Weasel Today 07:06 am JST

Agreed. This is very a serious indeed, and should not be made lightly. FCRs are supposedly pre-programmed with the capability to determine the foe-or-friend ID's prior to the fire-control's target acquisition.

What you're saying is known only to the personnel of the South Korean destroyer. The MSDF pilots only know that they are a possible target to be shot down.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

The only thing I can think of is that those pilots were very scared.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Korea always demands Japan to apologize while they never apologize to Japan on anything.

10 ( +16 / -6 )

Shameful of SK not to apologize and promise this wont happen again. The fear and terror those poor pilots felt could destroy their career with PTSD, they would never expect to be targetted in their job. I feel so sorry for them. It is probable PRC has ordered SK to do this, to bully Japan, for economic benefit. No Apology = Sanctions.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

If gun pointed at my back somehow, I would be so scared of being shot to death. Gun should not be pointed at good friend that easily. Better put it away quickly if you know the person before unnecessary fight starts.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Korea is allying with China.

Watch what you wish for Korea. Japan and the US are better for you...you are just too bitter to realize it.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Korea is allying with China.

Exactly what I was thinking. If this escalates into something, it will be PRC, SK and NK versus Japan and USA. And USA and Japan would emerge the big winners. This is EXACTLY why Article 9 must be changed.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Patrol plane or spy plane?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

JoeintokyoToday  09:45 am JST

Patrol plane or spy plane?

The Kawasaki P-1 is a Patrol Plane. The Lockheed U-2 is a Spy plane. A universe of a difference in capabilities.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

So a patrol plane has no ability to spy on the activities of the South Korean Navy?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@OssanJapan

South Korea has admitted that it was used.

Korea officially confirmed its Fire Control radar was NEVER TURNED ON during a press conference.

http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_international/875621.html

The official also disputed the Japanese Defense Ministry’s claims that the targeting radar was aimed at the patrol aircraft. According to the official, only the fire-control system’s three-dimensional MW08 radar for wide-range searches was in operation, while its signal tracking and illumination radar (STIR) – in which a beam is fired toward a target to calculate the distance for a strike – was not used.

At the time of P-1's contact,

MW08 was ON.

STIR was OFF.

This is the official finding and Japanese MoD was notified of such.

Shameful of SK not to apologize and promise this wont happen again. 

Why would they? It is Japan that needs to fix the P-1's lock-on alarm's sensor setting to distinguish radar sweep from radar illumination. The P-1's sensor apparently can't do it based on this incident.

@dougthehead13

But the problem was that the MSDF airplane attack alert alarms were activated.

JMSDF needs to change the P-1's sensor setting to make sure the "lock on" alarm is triggered only when a radar beam is continuously tracking it and "illuminating" it, not when a radar beam hits it in a sweep. Search sweep is what radars do.

@Schopenhauer

while they never apologize to Japan on anything.

They have done nothing to apologize for.

-18 ( +4 / -22 )

JoeintokyoToday  10:11 am JST

So a patrol plane has no ability to spy on the activities of the South Korean Navy?

Not without being spotted and identified. Did you read the specs of the U-2? More importantly, Japan does not spy on ROK and even ROK has not accused Japan of "spying". So where are you coming up with this?

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Okay, my bad, "spy" is the wrong word. I should have said "following the movements" of the SK ship. Is that better?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Better get it all worked out soon.

Korea will be the first to call on the USA and Japan for international support and condemnation when the DPRK get it's feelings sideways again and starts shelling Korea or sinks a South Korean ship.

It has happened in the past. It will happen again.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-pacific-11818005

If South Korea made a mistake. They need to own it.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

This story is on TV right now. The Japan dost protest too much, methinks. Ulterior motive anyone? I'm starting to buy the SK explanation about this involving the SK court award of compensation for forced labor.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

JoeintokyoToday  10:46 am JST

Okay, my bad, "spy" is the wrong word. I should have said "following the movements" of the SK ship. Is that better?

If that were the case, South Korea would have said so as an excuse for their action. They haven't.

I'm starting to buy the SK explanation about this involving the SK court award of compensation for forced labor.

You have a wild imagination. Why do you find it so hard to accept the simplest explanation, that the ROK ship made an error?

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Why do you find it so hard to accept the simplest explanation, that the ROK ship made an error?

Sure, it could have, but it's no stretch of the imagination to envision a hot-head SK captain pissed off at a J-patrol plane dogging its movements and "lighting the plane up" in frustration. Which, I guess, would be an error.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

JoeintokyoToday  11:14 am JST

Why do you find it so hard to accept the simplest explanation, that the ROK ship made an error?

Sure, it could have, but it's no stretch of the imagination to envision a hot-head SK captain pissed off at a J-patrol plane dogging its movements and "lighting the plane up" in frustration. Which, I guess, would be an error.

Yes, unless the SK captain had the authority or orders to do so, it would be an error.

South Korea has effectively stated that it was an error:

South Korea has denied that the radar was used intentionally to track the Japanese plane

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Well, is it an error to use MW08 but not STIR with the J-plane in the area? What are the rules here? Do you know?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Why do you find it so hard to accept the simplest explanation, that the ROK ship made an error?

@ ossanamerica - Prove that this was an error and NOT a political attack on Japan. This is clearly NOT an error. It was absolutely an order from Moon to do this.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

The South Korean side, however, complained about Japan's claim, saying that Tokyo is "making a case without clear confirmation of facts," according to a South Korean Foreign Ministry official.

Idk, sounds like another Ghosn bento

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Ganbare Japan

I suggest you prove that it was not an error and intentional and ordered by Moon himself.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Korean stance " Unreasonable accusation " " Too much noise for little accident" ......hopeless and disgusting. Without quick sincere apology, Japan seriously needs to break up all ties with S.K.

Just do it!.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

If a ship is doing a search for a ship in distress it uses all radars. The patrol craft identified it had been detected by radar and it may have indicated it was "locked onto" if it gets hit multiple times in close succession. This issue can be made serious, or taken at face value. That is a decision for Japan. But it is difficult to judge someones intent when it comes to something like this.

As for the court cases. SK has a right for its domestic laws to be applied within SK. If Japan maintains it has broken International law then it has the right to pursue a case against SK in the international courts. There is no point getting angry. let the law be followed and enforced as applicable. If the International court finds SK has broken International law then penalties could be applied. If it finds no International law has been broken then that would be the end of the issue.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

So a patrol plane has no ability to spy on the activities of the South Korean Navy?

It can track radio signals and surface movement from a distance, and submarines; by use of airdropped sonar bouys. The P-series was never intended to be a reconnaissance, “spy” craft, or E/AWACS system. It was designed to fly low and slow in friendly waters. It would be made quick business of if it tried to conduct a deep recon like the U2 or SR-71. It also has no armaments other than a magazine of 6 anti-sub torpedoes.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Military aircraft categories:

P: patrol

SR: Special Reconnaissance

F: fighter

C: cargo/carrier

U: utility

A: attack

0 ( +1 / -1 )

no expert here except for my extensive experience in BF3 and BF4, but

as it would seem to me that if they were looking for a North Korean ship in distress their radar would not be directed towards something flying overhead!

if a ship is out near the horizon i guess it could be possible that a plane also near the horizon (further away given that it has altitude) could be painted in the process...

but, why do you "look for a ship in distress" with a targeting radar? in BF4 thats the difference between spotting with 'Q,' and using a soflam or laser designator to light up a target to be attacked by rockets.

(rank 111 colonel here)

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@Samit Basu

And you believe the SK version. They have every reason to make up an excuse. Without absolute proof it is meaningless. They simply cant bear to apologise to Japan as it weakens their political foothold in their own country. In the West the inability to apologise is seen has a flaw and complete weakness.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

It is so sad to witness Japan and South Korea on such bad terms. In a crazy world with Trump doing his best to trash everything, the two countries should be working together closer than ever.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Nice airplane!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

South Korea, a country that has and continues to make demands for apologies from Japan over and over again, yet they are incapable of making a simple apology when they made an error. Do they somehow think that they are exempt from the very thing they keep demanding from Japan? South Korea needs collective psychiatric treatment on a national level.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

with Trump doing his best to trash everything,

Trump, Trump, Trump. Only two more Christmas’s to go.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan doesn't require an apology just acknowledge the fact and court marshal all the ones involved up to the top.

The thing that bothers me the most is that the pilot of the targeted P-1 called out on the radio in various frequencies towards the SKN ship that they are violating international law by pointing their targeting radar towards the plane asking what their intentions were which the SK ship did not respond.

Afterwards the SK spokesperson stated that the radio signal was too weak to be heard and the SK ship did not know that they were being hailed which is complete BS.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I suggest you prove that it was not an error and intentional and ordered by Moon himself.

The radar attack continued for minutes not seconds. 2. Radar lock on is always intentional. 3. It was Japan's EEZ  4. They don't apologize 5. Moon has been attacking Japan so many times in every possible way since he became president that I can't write here such a long list
7 ( +8 / -1 )

Both Korea simply making light of Japan and the people. Japan has been too weak, too soft, to infirm.

Japan needs to rest it's position against both Korea completely neutral by completely destroying "Korean Schools" deeprooted inside Japanese society first. we know what to do .

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Samit Basu, so far yours is about the only reasonable conclusion here. The following is an excerpt from an article in SK's JoongAng Daily, pointing out Japanese hypocrisy - Res Ipsa Loquitur:

"Tokyo’s forceful protests against Seoul over the incident are in stark contrast to its subdued reaction towards Beijing in a similar incident.

In February 2013, a Chinese vessel aimed its fire control radar [although of course SK denies its own weapons system was turned on] at a Japanese ship near a disputed set of islets on the East China Sea. Abe reportedly told then-Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera to respond calmly and “not meet provocation with provocation,” according to the Kyodo news agency. 

Analysts say Tokyo’s condemnations reflect its growing discontent of Seoul over a variety of issues afflicting the two countries’ relationships. Korea recently decided to shut down a Japanese-funded foundation for the victims of Japan’s wartime sex slavery, and a recent ruling by the Supreme Court of South Korea ordered Japanese companies to compensate Korean victims of forced labor during colonial rule.

Before departing on a trip abroad on Sunday, Japanese Foreign Minister Kono Taro told local reporters that he would demand that Seoul take appropriate measures over the radar issue and a visit to the Dokdo islets by a Korean lawmaker “amid a series of difficult issues.” 

Observers in South Korea say repeated Seoul-bashing from Tokyo may be aimed to rally the Japanese public to the Abe administration’s side as its support dips due to unpopular labor policies."

Mr. Abe and his cohorts just got their own Divine Wind, it seems.

-18 ( +1 / -19 )

What S. Korea did is Unacceptable. Aggressive behavior and they should apologize for it. Korea demands apology every year from Japan, builds comfort women statues in memory of their victim mentality, sign a deal as Final and Irreversible then goes back on that deal 2 years later.

Being on good terms with Korea has not benefit Japan at all, in fact they hate us even more after the apology and compensation paid. Try a more aggressive approach just like the Chinese did to them or their great leader Kim to the North which they love and respect, want to reunite and willing to forget all the crimes committed by Kim's family.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Let's go to ICJ.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

According to Share News Japan, this seems portraying rough flow of conversation between Japan and Korea.

LOL it helped me a lot to understand where they are now

Japan: Hey! Your destroyer directed it’s FC radar onto our patrol plane

Korea: Make it confidential will you?

J: No we won't

K:We didn’t use FC radar

J:We have evidence

K:It’s within our mission

J:It’s against Int’l Code

K:We’re actually searching for North Korean missing boat

J:Why FC Radar, why not Searcing radar Why locked on to us anyway?

J:We’re just an patrol plane high in the sky. Missing boat disappeared up in the sky?

K:We’re using searching radar. We didn’t use FC radar

J: Yes you did

K:We actually used all radars possible due to bad weather

J:Super fine weather that time.

K:It was coincidence your plane crossed FC’s beam just for a second

J:No kept being pin-pointed by the beam for 5 min. not just once.

K:Your plane flying over us threatening us, so we kept pinpointing you.

J:Our plane just flying over Noto peninsula

K:Anyway, don’t makea fuss about this little thing as much as 3 times

K:Abe utilizing anti-Korea emotion to recover his approval rating isn’t he.

J:Huh? What are you talking about? How come you ignored our wireless anyway?

K:It was terrible sensitivity

J:That’s why we used 3 different frequencies plus emergency frequency???

https://snjpn.net/archives/86718

10 ( +10 / -0 )

The Defense Ministry dropped the bomb.

http://www.mod.go.jp/j/press/kisha/2018/12/25a.html

Q:韓国側は射撃管制用のレーダーと、火器管制用のレーダーを使い分けて、いわゆるMW-08のレーダーとSTIRのレーダーを使い分けていると説明していると思うのですが、そのSTIRの方は使っていないという説明だと思うのですが、日本側が探知をして発表に至ったのは、STIRを感知したということでしょうか。

A:その中身を逐一、詳細に申し上げるわけにもいかないと思いますが、防衛省側はおっしゃったようなことも含めて、海自側は分析をしております。

Q: The Korean side explained the use of separate radars for fire control and weapons control, so called MW-08 radar and the STIR radar, but they explained that they did not use the STIR. Is Japan announcing that Japan has detected the STIR radar signal?

A: We have no obligation to explain in such details, the Ministry of Defense is currently analyzing data including such factors.

Basically, the Japanese MoD is refusing to confirm that they detected the STIR radar signal!!!!

So the Korean side was right, Koreans never turned on the STIR radar, the P-1 detected something other than the STIR radar signal, most likely the MW-08 search radar signal because it was flying so low, the Lock-On warning alarm triggered incorrectly and is blaming the Koreans for the P-1 system's defect!

Additionally, the Korean side is offering to disclose all relevant records to Japan for analysis, while Japanese side is refusing to do the same!

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Basically, the Japanese MoD is refusing to confirm that they detected the STIR radar signal!!!!

How does this turn to your observation might I ask?

So the Korean side was right, Koreans never turned on the STIR radar,

While I am at it about this;

Additionally, the Korean side is offering to disclose all relevant records

Does SKN really want JMSDF to disclose all including the FCR frequencies to all which is suspose to be top secret since if the potential adversary knows in advance they will be able to ready countermeasures making the first attack of SKN meaningless?

I say JMSDF should just disclose all records to the public for all to see and evaluate.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

@Triring

How does this turn to your observation might I ask?

The reporter asked a very specific question at the heart of this controversy. The Japanese MoD spokesperson refused to answer this very specific question, where as the Korean side clearly answered NO on this question.

Does SKN really want JMSDF to disclose all including the FCR frequencies to all which is suspose to be top secret

it is the Korean side falsely accused of wrongdoing and is willing to show its equipment operational data to disprove false claims made against it, so Japan the false accuser has same obligation to show off what data it has to prove its case. After all, the burden of proof is on the accuser's side, right?

So unless Japan can prove the P-1 has detected the STIR radar signal, the case is closed. This is basically a P-1's equipment malfunction case.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Glad that JP gov finally disclosed the video footage as evidence which they should have disclosed it immediately after the incident.

I hope readers here (except for those anti-JP Koreans here and there) would start to realize common characteristics among China, SK, NK that they all are very much alike and how tragic it is for Japan to be surrounded by these irrational bullies.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Yup, but the worst part is that the SK Foreign Affairs is stating that the video proves nothing even though it clear shows that the weather was fair, their ship was already within visual distance of the vessel they were in search of, the P-1 was hailing towards the SK ship that was within visual contact, they told the SK ship was pointing their FC radar asking what their intent was without response.

SK Navy knows they were clearly at fault and yet they have not admitted their mistake and denies they are at fault. Do they really want JMSDF to release radar frequency characteristics which is considered as military secret to the public so to further show what had really happened?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japan has now released the video taken aboard the P-1 at the time of the incident, the J-crew alarmed by the FC hit, repeated requests to the SK ship for the purpose, all supporting Japan's position and concern, Yet SK continues to defy the evidence arguing that Japan is trying to make a diplomatic issue out of it. SK does not appear to recognize that it already is a diplomatic issue.

These kind of errors occur even between strategic adversaries, and a quickly resolved by a determination of cause and an apology from the party who erred, followed by mutual discussion aimed at preventing similar incidents in the future. They do not become diplomatic issues.

However it appears in this instance that SK are deliberately turning this into a diplomatic issue. This raises the question of whether SK is willfully acting to disrupt U.S. interests and alliances in the region. I would like to see the US Navy conduct an investigation as a third party. I have zero doubt that Japan would welcome this, but doubts that SK would. If so, the US needs to re-examine it's defense agreements with SK as we may be putting our 28000 troops stationed in SK at risk.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I feel very reluctant to trust the Japanese side, because they have a strong tendency of cherry picking only the information and data that validates their case, and ignore everything else.

What is still unclear to me is where exactly did this took place? Japan claims it was in their EEZ, but Japan also consideres Dokdo as part of their EEZ. So i need to know where exactly did this took place.

Also, Korea claims the Japanese plane flew at about 150 meters from their ship, which they claim is very close, so they used their radar to observe the plane. Japan claims they flew at a ''sufficient distance'', but they never stated what distance specifically. This is an important detail.

Also, Korea claims their radar was not a fire-control radar, but a search radar. Japan is yet to prove it was a fire-radar. The info they have released just shows a radar, it does not confirm or shows that its a fire-control radar. Another important detail yet to be cleared out.

Also, Korea claims the frequency the Japanese pilots used to communicate with them is unclear and omitted from the video. This is another detail that needs to be cleared out.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

@Samit Basu

Exactly. Good post. It seems that Japan has yet again only selected the information and data that validates their case, and have omitted all the other important data and information. Like you pointed out, they are yet to prove that it was a fire-radar, which Korea denies. Their rejection to answer the question is an indication that they have no case, and this is all political stunt. The facts do not support their case.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Japan should stop knit picking and complain about everything when it comes to issues regarding the Korean Peninsula now the South and North are having a closer ties...

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I guess PM Abe wants "Japan Navy" instead of "Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force" by provoking a neighboring country to instigate domestic public uproars.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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