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6 U.S. F-35A fighters land in S. Korea to join combined drills

All News 15:48 July 05, 2022

SEOUL, July 5 (Yonhap) -- Six U.S. F-35A radar-evading fighters arrived in South Korea on Tuesday to conduct allied drills, the two countries' militaries said, in the first public deployment of America's stealth warplanes here since late 2017.

The deployment from the Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska came as Seoul and Washington are cranking up security coordination amid concerns about the possibility of Pyongyang conducting a nuclear test or other provocations.

The U.S. military aircraft will join South Korean warplanes, including F-35As, for the "familiarization and routine training flights" designed to enhance the two Air Forces' interoperability, according to the U.S. Forces Korea. The drills will run through July 14.

"The deployment this time is aimed at demonstrating the South Korea-U.S. alliance's strong deterrence and combined defense posture, as well as improving interoperability between the two Air Forces," Seoul's defense ministry said in a text message sent to reporters.

The last public deployment of the U.S.' fifth-generation fighters to Korea came in December 2017 when the allies staged their then regular Vigilant Ace training.

The latest dispatch followed an agreement from the May summit between President Yoon Suk-yeol and his U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden, on deploying America's strategic military assets "in a timely and coordinated manner as necessary."

This file photo, provided by the defense ministry, shows the South Korean Air Force's F-35A stealth fighters performing an elephant walk at an unidentified air base on March 25, 2022. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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