February 02, 2017 12:24
The Navy on Wednesday put four AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat helicopters into service.
The batch was part of eight of the European-made maritime helicopters the Navy purchased, a spokesman said. They were delivered in June last year. Another batch delivered in December will be put into service in July.
Wildcat choppers carried on frigates will carry out combat missions against submarines and other ships as well as maritime patrol missions.
The Navy the same day conducted a search and attack drill against submarines with three of the choppers in waters south of Geoje Island in South Gyeongsang Province. It believes they will boost its capability to detect North Korean submarines with ballistic missiles.
The chopper's submarine detection capability is four times better than the Lynx chopper's. It is capable of conducting precision surveillance of remote areas with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar with a range of 360 km and an electro-optical infrared sensor system.
It is armed with homegrown Cheongsangeo (Blue Shark) torpedoes and 12.7-mm machine guns, as well as Spike anti-ship missiles.
Meanwhile, 12 F-16 fighter jets and some 200 personnel from the New Jersey Air National Guard in Atlantic City will be deployed at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province this month, according to the U.S. Pacific Air Forces.
The fighters will join South Korean Air Force fighters in joint operations and missions for six to nine months to deter North Korean provocations.
Rotational deployment of troops and equipment from the U.S. mainland to South Korea started in 2004.
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