March 20, 2017 10:29
The U.S. conducted an aerial refueling drill of top-of-the-line supersonic vertical takeoff and landing aircraft in Japan last week.
The F-35B jets would come to the aid of forces in Korea in the event of a war on the peninsula.
A military spokesman here said, "The exercise suggests that the F-35Bs are practicing all processes necessary for precision strikes against targets in North Korea."
A KC-135 Stratotanker from the air refueling squadron at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa conducted the drill with F-35Bs over the Pacific Ocean on March 14, according to the U.S. Forces Japan.
The F-35B can avoid anti-aircraft artillery fire and launch precision strikes against key targets in a war, but its maximum flight range is only 1,670 km and its combat radius 865 km.
"It's about 800 km from Iwakuni to Pyongyang, so just enough for the F-35B to carry out a mission in North Korean areas without aerial refueling and return to base," the spokesman added.
Meanwhile, the South Korean and U.S. Navies started a massive joint exercise on Sunday to prepare for North Korean provocations in the East, West and South Seas.
About 60 vessels and submarines from the two countries are taking part, including the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier, which arrived at Busan on March 15, and South Korean Aegis ship and some 60 submersibles.
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