S.Korea, U.S. Start 1st Large-Scale Aerial Drills in 5 Years

  • By Yu Yong-weon

    November 01, 2022 12:19

    South Korea and the U.S. kicked off large-scale aerial drills on Monday, mobilizing some 240 warplanes including stealth fighter jets.
    The warplanes will make a record 1,600 sorties during the exercises until Friday to send a strong warning to North Korea, which is suspected of planning another nuclear test.
    About 140 South Korean warplanes will take part including F-35A stealth fighter jets, F-15K and KF-16 fighters and KC-330 Cygnus aerial refueling aircraft, as will 100 U.S. military aircraft such as F-35B stealth vertical takeoff and landing fighter jets, EA-18 Growler electronic warfare aircraft, U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft and KC-135 Stratotanker midair refueling aircraft.
    South Korean KF-16 fighter jets take off at Kunsan Air Base in North Jeolla Province on Monday. /Newsis
    U.S. Marines, Navy and Army are also taking part, and the Australian Air Force is sending a KC-30A multi-role tanker transport aircraft.
    The F-35B stealth fighters will arrive from Iwakuni Air Base in Japan for the first time.
    The drills, dubbed "Vigilant Storm," aim to practice launching precision strikes on some 700 major targets in North Korea, including nuclear missile and air bases.
    The last time the two countries staged the drills, then called "Vigilant Ace," was in September 2017 in response to North Korea's last nuclear test in September that year.
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