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S. Korean fighter jets to join U.S.-led multinational drill

2013/08/11 14:22

SEOUL, Aug. 11 (Yonhap) -- Six South Korean fighter jets will participate in a U.S.-led multinational air force drill this week to help hone its pilots in real combat situations, the Air Force said Sunday.

The Red Flag aerial war game, hosted by the U.S. Pacific Air Forces, is slated to be held in Alaska from Monday through Friday to train pilots from the U.S., South Korea, Japan and Australia.

The six F-15K jets departed from the southern city of Daegu on Aug. 2 and flew nonstop over 7,000 kilometers to Eielson Air Force Base through several aerial refuelings, the Air Force said, adding flight time was about eight hours.

It was the first time for South Korean fighter jets to fly nonstop by air refueling to participate in a joint drill held overseas.

The South Korean training team, which consists of 26 pilots and support crew, has been conducting pre-exercise training missions since Monday, the Air Force added.

The South Korean Air Force participated in the Red Flag hosted at the U.S. Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada in January 2012 when a pair of the combat-proven advanced variant of the F-15E was delivered directly from Boeing's U.S. factory.

South Korea has bought 60 F-15 fighter jets from Boeing since 2002 in the first two stages of its fighter modernization program. The U.S. defense contractor delivered its last batch in 2012.