US, South Korea large-scale air combat drills start amid tensions
As the joint air force drills between the US and South Korea begins, hundreds of warplanes kicks off despite having dire warnings from Pyongyang and Moscow, urging to avoid new provocations after recent launch of North Korea’s new ICBM
The Vigilant Ace 18 drills, which Seoul claims are of a purely “defensive nature,” will see hundreds of US and South Korea’s aircraft honing their skills by attacking mock North Korean nuclear and missile objects in different war time scenarios, Yonhap reported, citing South Korea’s defense ministry. They will for the first time feature six F-22 Raptor stealth jets, that arrived to South Korea specifically for the war games along with six F-35As stealth jets.
Part of the US force taking part in the wargames, including a dozen of F-35B stealth jets, will fly from a Japanese airbase, where they have been stationed.
The large-scale maneuvers, reportedly “the largest-ever combined air force drills between the allies” will also involve dozens of other fighter jets on both sides, as well as American B-1B Lancer strategic bombers and carrier-based electronic warfare aircraft.
A total of 12,000 personnel and over 230 military aircraft will be engaged in the drills, that will run to December 8.
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