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US, South Korea large-scale air combat drills start amid tensions

As the joint air force between the and South 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 and South Korea’s aircraft honing their skills by attacking mock North Korean and 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 specifically for the war games along with six F-35As stealth jets.

Part of the 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 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 aircraft will be engaged in the drills, that will run to December 8.

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