May 02, 2018 09:09
Eight F-22 Raptor fighter jets have arrived in South Korea from the U.S., according to a government source here on Tuesday.
The world's most advanced fighter jets arrived Sunday from their base in the U.S. mainland to take part in a joint exercise. It is the first time they have been mobilized on this scale for the "Max Thunder" drill that will last two weeks from May 11.
The idea seems to be to keep up maximum pressure on North Korea until it agrees to denuclearize in a summit with the U.S. in May. The jets are parked at an air base in Gwangju.
Their arrival became public when a civilian took a picture of them and posted it online, suggesting they flew deliberately low to be seen.
South Korea and the U.S. have completed this year's main joint exercises but kept a relatively low profile ahead of the historic inter-Korean summit last week.
The F-22 is one of the U.S. strategic weapons Pyongyang fears most since it can avoid radar detection and bombard targets with pinpoint accuracy, though it is not capable of conducting nuclear strikes.
It could be mobilized for a "decapitation operation" that would target key military facilities in North Korea, or in a "bloody nose" attack that has been mooted in Washington recently.
The U.S. has about 180 of the jets.
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