Chinese Military Drone Flies East of Japan’s Amami Oshima Island; TB-001 the First Chinese UAV Seen in Area

Courtesy of the Defense Ministry
A TB-001 unmanned military plane flies near Amami Oshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture on Tuesday.

A Chinese TB-001 unmanned plane flew over the sea near Amami Oshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture on Tuesday, marking the first time for a Chinese military drone to approach the area, the Defense Ministry announced on the day.

The Air Self-Defense Force scrambled fighters and monitored the unmanned aerial vehicle, and the Chinese UAV did not intrude into the Japanese territorial airspace. The TB-001 is designed for reconnaissance and attack.

According to the ministry’s Joint Staff office, the TB-001 aircraft was seen near Japan from the morning to the afternoon on Tuesday. It first flew over the sea between Okinawa Island and Miyako Island, both in Okinawa Prefecture, to pass from the East China Sea to the Pacific Ocean. It then flew to airspace about 200 kilometers east of Amami Oshima island before making a U-turn and flying back to the East China Sea along almost the same route as the incoming one.