Air defense identification zone

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An air defense identification zone (ADIZ) is the airspace of a country plus an additional wider area over land and water in which a country tries to identify, locate, and control any civil aircraft in the interest of national security.[1] They are declared unilaterally[2] and may extend beyond a country's territory to give the country more time to respond to possibly hostile aircraft.[3] The concept of an ADIZ is not defined in any international treaty and is not recognized by any international body.[3][4]

The first ADIZ was established by the United States on December 27, 1950, shortly after President Truman had proclaimed a national emergency during the Korean War.[5] About 20 countries and regions now have such zones, including Canada, India,[6] Japan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Finland, Norway, the United Kingdom, the People's Republic of China, South Korea, Taiwan, United States, Sweden, Iceland, and Iran. As well, Russia and North Korea have unofficial zones.[1][3][7] Usually, such zones cover only undisputed territory, do not apply to foreign aircraft not intending to enter territorial airspace, and do not overlap.[4][8]

Air defense zones should not be confused with flight information regions (FIRs), which are used to manage air traffic.[1]

South Asia[edit]


India established ADIZs in the mid-twentieth century. Among other rules, notifications are required 10 minutes prior to entry. In case of delay, 45 or more minutes and a new Air Defence Clearance (ADC) numbers are required.[9]

India has demarcated six ADIZ near its territory. The zones have been declared over the international border with Pakistan, the international border with Nepal, over the Line of Actual Control with China, along the eastern borders with Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar and two in the southern region of India.[10]

Military enforcement of ADIZs is solely the responsibility of the IAF, and the task is executed through a chain of radars as well as a C3I organisation. Aircraft and surface-to-air missiles of the IAF, with elements of the Army and the Navy participating in their specific areas, where required, carry out interceptions. Civil aviation authorities, in conjunction with the IAF, also assist in this process by ensuring regulatory and control measures, such as assignment of Air Defence Clearance (ADC) numbers to aircraft entering or operating in Indian air space and by confirming the ADC of the incoming traffic, where necessary.[11]


Bangladesh Air Defense Identification Zone

Bangladesh maintains an ADIZ that extends over the adjoining sea to the south as delineated by the following coordinates:

  1. 21°07′44.80″N 89°13′56.50″E / 21.1291111°N 89.2323611°E / 21.1291111; 89.2323611
  2. 18°15′54.12″N 89°21′47.56″E / 18.2650333°N 89.3632111°E / 18.2650333; 89.3632111
  3. 16°43′28.74″N 89°25′54.37″E / 16.7246500°N 89.4317694°E / 16.7246500; 89.4317694
  4. 20°13′06.30″N 92°00′07.60″E / 20.2184167°N 92.0021111°E / 20.2184167; 92.0021111
  5. 20°03′32.00″N 91°50′31.80″E / 20.0588889°N 91.8421667°E / 20.0588889; 91.8421667
  6. 17°52′34.06″N 90°15′04.66″E / 17.8761278°N 90.2512944°E / 17.8761278; 90.2512944

All flights of aircraft, civil/military, Bangladeshi or foreign, originating within the ADIZ and those penetrating the Bangladesh ADIZ must obtain prior permission and Air Defense Clearance (ADC).

Among other procedures, aircraft flying without a valid ADC number or failing to comply with any restriction or deviating from flight plan will be liable to interception by Bangladesh Air Force.[12]

United States and Canada[edit]

ADIZ boundaries for the United States and Canada as of 2018.

The United States and Canada jointly operate an ADIZ that encompasses their sovereign airspace in North America. The United States maintains two zones in North America the Contiguous U.S. ADIZ and the Alaska ADIZ, and two more overseas, the Hawaii ADIZ and the Guam ADIZ.[1] Canada operates two other sections of the North American ADIZ, one off the Pacific coast of British Columbia and another that encompasses the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and its Atlantic provinces.[13]

Under US law and policy, the zone applies only to commercial aircraft intending to enter US airspace.[1] An air defense command and control structure was developed in 1950, creating five air defense identification zones around North America. If radio interrogation failed to identify an aircraft in the ADIZ, the Air Force launched interceptor aircraft to identify the intruder visually. The air defense system reached its peak in 1962. With the deployment of the SS-6 ICBM in the Soviet Union, strategic threats shifted overwhelmingly to ICBM attacks, and bomber intrusions were considered to be less of a threat. It applies to aircraft passing through the zone to other countries.

East Asia[edit]

Air defense identification zones over Japan (blue), South Korea (green), China (pink), and Taiwan/ROC (Orange)


Japan has an ADIZ that covers most of its exclusive economic zone. It was created by the United States Armed Forces (USAF) after World War II, with the western border at 123° degrees east. That resulted in only the eastern half of Yonaguni Island being part of Japan's ADIZ and the western half being part of Taiwan's ADIZ.

On 25 June 2010, Japan extended its ADIZ around Yonaguni 22 km westwards to align with its territorial waters. That led to an overlap with Taiwan's. An anonymous official of Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said that "ADIZ demarcation is at the discretion of each country, it was natural for Japan not to seek prior approval from Taiwan." MOFA minister Timothy Yang also said "each country is entitled to draw its ADIZ" and that he believes "[Taiwan and Japan] understand each other's position." The ministry later issued a second statement expressing "extreme regret" over the rezoning and its opposition to the change. The defense ministry also said that the government would not make "any concession on this issue as it is a matter of national sovereignty."[14]


Typical ADIZ map from the Taiwan MND, showing a September 2020 incursion involving entry into the southwest ADIZ and crossing of the median line by the People's Liberation Army Air Force.

Taiwan has an ADIZ that covers most of the Taiwan Strait, parts of Fujian, Zhejiang, and Jiangxi, and part of the East China Sea. It was designed and created by the United States Armed Forces (USAF) after World War II and the basis of Taipei Flight Information Region.[15][16]: 15  Although the ADIZ covers parts of China's Fujian and Zhejiang provinces in its northwestern part, PLA flights in those areas are not reported as incursions. Maps of the Taiwan ADIZ usually also include the Taiwan Strait median line as a reference.[citation needed] Around 9% of Taiwan's national defence budget reportedly goes into response to Chinese sorties, which usually involve flights inside the southwest part of the ADIZ, crossing of the median, or circumnavigation.[17]

South Korea[edit]

South Korea operates a zone that covers most but not all of its claimed airspace.[18] It does not cover some remote spots.[18] The zone was established in 1951, during the Korean War, by the United States Air Force to block communist forces.[18]

When part or all of flight route of an aircraft enters the KADIZ area, it is required to send a specific flight plan one hour prior to departure. Civilian aircraft with regular routes should submit a repetitive flight plan to the air traffic control. There is no need for legal action when an aircraft enters KADIZ as long as the aircraft follows its flight plan reported to the South Korean government. If there is a change in the flight passage or an approach without prior notification, the South Korean Air Force has the right to immediately identify or to track down the aircraft and to be prepared for interception. However, military force such as shooting down the plane cannot be exercised.

Following China's establishment of an ADIZ in November 2013 covering disputed areas, the Defense Ministry of Republic of Korea announced in December that year that the Korea Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ) would be expanded to partially overlap with those of China and Japan.[19] The final zone would include the islands of Marado near Jeju, Hongdo in the Yellow Sea, and Ieodo within the overlapping exclusive economic zones of South Korea and China.[18] The sensitive issues are expected to bring military or diplomatic conflict between the three countries. By 29 August, Chinese military jets had entered the KADIZ area without notice five times in 2018. Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that an ADIZ is not airspace, without referring to any specific incident.[20]


On November 23, 2013 the People's Republic of China (PRC) established a zone in the East China Sea. The announcement drew criticism from China's East and Southeast neighbors, as well as from the European Union and the United States. The responses focused on two aspects. Firstly, China's ADIZ in the East China Sea covers disputed territories such as the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu Islands in the PRC)[3] and the Socotra Rock, which is claimed by South Korea. Secondly, it overlaps with other countries' ADIZ and imposes requirements on both civilian and military aircraft, regardless of destination.[4][8]

In 2014, the Chinese Foreign Ministry dismissed reports that it was considering a similar ADIZ over the South China Sea, as the countries in ASEAN were no threat.[21]


  1. ^ a b c d e Abeyratne, Ruwantissa (2011-09-13). "In search of theoretical justification for air defence identification zones" (PDF). Journal of Transportation Security. Springer Nature. 5 (1): 87–94. doi:10.1007/s12198-011-0083-2. ISSN 1938-7741. S2CID 153873530. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-07-09.
  2. ^ Welle (, Deutsche. "China's Taiwan military incursions test the limits of airspace | DW | 04.10.2021". DW.COM. Retrieved 2022-06-01.
  3. ^ a b c d Page, Jeremy (Nov 27, 2013). "The A to Z on China's Air Defense Identification Zone". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  4. ^ a b c "Air Defense Identification Zone". Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  5. ^ R. P. Anand, Origin and Development of the Law of the Sea (Martinus Nijhoff, 1983) p171
  6. ^ "Navy Closely Watching China Claims". New Indian Express. 7 December 2013. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  7. ^ Jane Perlez (27 November 2013), China Explains Handling of B-52 Flight as Tensions Escalate The New York Times
  8. ^ a b Rick Gladstone and Matthew L. Wald (27 November 2013), China's Move Puts Airspace in Spotlight The New York Times
  9. ^[bare URL PDF]
  10. ^[bare URL PDF]
  11. ^ "Integrated Air Defence for the Indian Airspace".
  12. ^ "ESTABLISHING AIR DEFENCE IDENTIFICATION ZONE OVER BANGLADESH" (PDF). Civil Aviation Authority, Bangladesh. 1 February 2018. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  13. ^ "Designated Airspace Handbook" (PDF). Nav Canada. 25 April 2019. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 June 2019. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  14. ^ "Japan extends ADIZ into Taiwan space". Taipei Times. 26 June 2013. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
  15. ^ "Chinese aircraft enters Taiwan's ADIZ for 7th time in 8 days | Taiwan News | 2020-09-25 10:59:00".
  16. ^ 許書耕、賴威伸、胡智超、李宇欣、陳春益、林東盈、李威勳、陳佑麟、袁永偉、盧立昕 (2018). "第三章 我國空域與桃園國際機場空側". 構建空域模擬模式之研究 : 以臺北終端管制區域為例 (in Traditional Chinese). 臺北市: 交通部運輸研究所. ISBN 9789860557862.
  17. ^ Shattuck, Thomas J. (April 7, 2021). "Assessing the Patterns of PLA Air Incursions into Taiwan's ADIZ - Foreign Policy Research Institute". Global Taiwan Brief. 6 (7).
  18. ^ a b c d "Seoul considers southward expansion of air defense zone". The Korea Herald. December 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  19. ^ FlorCruz, Michelle (12 December 2013). "South Korea's Asiana Airlines And Korean Air Abide By Chinese Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ)".
  20. ^ "Chinese military jet enters S. Korean air defense zone". Yonhap News. 29 August 2018.
  21. ^ Xuequan, Mu (2 February 2014). "China dismisses ADIZ reports, optimistic about South China Sea situation". Xinhua News Agency. Archived from the original on February 3, 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2014.