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(2nd LD) B-1B, F-22 jets hold attack drills in Korea

2017/12/06 16:20

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(ATTN: UPDATES with number of deployed B-1Bs in last 3 paras; CHANGES photo)

SEOUL, Dec. 6 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. Air Force's B-1B Lancer strategic bomber aircraft and F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets conducted simulated bombing drills in South Korea on Wednesday, a show of the allies' ability and resolve to retaliate against North Korea's provocations, the defense authorities here said.

Several F-35 stealth jets and F-16 fighters of the U.S., as well as F-15Ks and KF-16s of the South, joined the exercise at the Pilsung Firing Range in Gangwon Province, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

It was part of the annual Vigilant ACE air force practice, which started Monday for a five-day run.

Two dozen F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters of the U.S. are taking part in the exercise, along with more than 200 other warplanes of the two countries.

A U.S. supersonic B-1B bomber flies over Korea in formation with several other warplanes of the allies on Dec. 6, 2017, in this photo provided by South Korea's Air Force. (Yonhap) A U.S. supersonic B-1B bomber flies over Korea in formation with several other warplanes of the allies on Dec. 6, 2017, in this photo provided by South Korea's Air Force. (Yonhap)

The fifth-generation jets are new to the Vigilant ACE practice.

"Through the exercise, the South Korean and U.S. air forces have demonstrated the alliance's strong will and capability for strong retaliation against North Korea's nuclear and missile threats," the JCS said.

The two sides also sharpened their readiness to deploy a "rapid response force" by improving the interoperability and the capability of carrying out combined operations in peace and wartime, it added.

It's also unusual for the military to make public the deployment of the B-1B supersonic jets, based at the Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, for the exercise. The U.S. has not announced it.

One B-1B was dispatched, a source said, while the JCS stopped short of specifying the number in the statement.

The U.S. sent a pair of B-1Bs to South Korea in early November days ahead of President Donald Trump's regional trip.

A U.S. supersonic B-1B bomber flies over Korea, flanked by several other warplanes of the allies, on Dec. 6, 2017, in this photo provided by South Korea's Air Force. (Yonhap) A U.S. supersonic B-1B bomber flies over Korea, flanked by several other warplanes of the allies, on Dec. 6, 2017, in this photo provided by South Korea's Air Force. (Yonhap)

lcd@yna.co.kr

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