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S. Korea, U.S. air forces conduct joint pilot-saving drill

All News 12:00 July 14, 2016

SEOUL, July 14 (Yonhap) – The air forces of South Korea and the United States are conducting a five-day joint military drill to hone their skills on rescuing downed pilots in enemy territory, the military said Thursday, as part of their ongoing efforts to strengthen their readiness in the event of conflict breaking out on the Korean Peninsula.

In the Pacific Thunder drill being held both in North Jeolla Province and Gangwon Province, some 200 Korean pararescuemen and 250 of their U.S. counterparts are participating in the exercise aimed at saving pilots downed during a mission, the South Korean Air Force said. The drill kicked off on Monday and will run through Friday.

A senior U.S. Air Force officer said the Pacific Thunder drill is a good opportunity for U.S. airmen to practice their infiltration and rescue mission on the Korean Peninsula. It is also a very important chance for the two air forces to practice a joint rescue operation.

Seoul has allocated 10 military aircraft such as the HH-32 and F-15K for the exercise, with 20 U.S. fighter jets including the A-10 and F-16 taking part in the drill, official sources said.

Starting in 2010, the South Korean Air Force joined the annual Pacific Thunder drill, initiated by the U.S. Air Force in 2008. The two countries agreed to hold the drill twice a year from 2015.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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