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an Aircraft Spotting trip to Korea and Japan
Where? Korea / Japan
When? October 2011

Korea and Japan, two colourful Asian countries, and with a huge variety of aviation subjects. With some airshows going on in a narrow timeframe a nice round-trip was worked out that should hopefully bring some images from these two Air Forces back. Time to start...

The Yin and Yang are represented by the red and blue taegeuk in the centre of South Korea's national flag, representing a "continuous movement within infinity, the two merging as one", at least according to Wikipedia. Or heaven and earth by the blue and red colour. To many it is of course also a sign of (mental) balance and calmness, but looking at the omni-present tensions with its neighbour North Korea the reality is different. It is thus more than obvious that the Korean military is very restricted and secretive, so more or less the only chance to see some RoKAF (Republic of Korea Air Force) aircraft is the bi-annual ADEX exposition at Seoul.

The ADEX (Aerospace and Defence Exhibition) takes place at the Sinchonri (K-16) Air Base East of Seoul and serves mainly as a showcase for the local defence industry.

The most part of the photos from the Seoul Airshow can be found HERE, this is only a short summary to show the extent and variety of aircraft seen there:

Whereas the show at Seoul offered a quite open access to RoKAF hardware, the situation in the rest of country is very different.

Mainly flying imported and locally licence-build (K)F-16s and (K)F-5s the RoKAF employs a huge variety of aircraft, many of which could be seen at the Seoul and Osan airshows. Furthermore the trusted F-4 Phantom II is still in service, flown as the F-4E in the air-air and air-ground role as well as still some RF-4C as a reconnaissance asset. These latter ones however are to be put out of service in 2012 and to be replaced by Recce-pod equipped F-16s.

Nonetheless, the view in the sky every once a while reveals some nice sights:

Being in that part of Asia Japan is not far to go and so there was a small detour planned around that trip to Korea. Before that however a short stop was done at Seoul's International Incheon airport, which offers a very nice visitors deck on the East side of the airfield. A little bit elevated there is an excellent view of the airport and nice light in the evening. Unfortunately the sun was hidden behind clouds that day:

Finding a convenient flight from Seoul to Tokyo was no problem and after a short hop I arrived in Japan.

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photos on www.airfighters.com