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(LEAD) S. Korea scrambles some 80 fighter jets after 180 N.K. warplane activities detected

Defense 16:52 November 04, 2022

(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead; UPDATES with details throughout)

SEOUL, Nov. 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea scrambled dozens of stealth fighter jets and other warplanes Friday after detecting more than 180 North Korean military aircraft activities in various locations via radar, Seoul's defense authorities said.

The North's planes, including fighters and bombers, were spotted flying between around 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. over its inland areas as well as off the western and eastern coasts without approaching close to the inter-Korean border, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). The bombers conducted air-to-ground firing.

In response, the South's Air Force mobilized some 80 fighter jets, including F-35As, in line with full response posture, added the JCS. It is trying to confirm the exact number of North Korean aircraft mobilized.

The North has been fiercely protesting the ongoing combined air drills of South Korea and the United States, called Vigilant Storm.

An F-35A fighter of the South Korean Air Force takes off from an air base in Cheongju, central South Korea, as South Korea and the United States kicked off joint air drills, in this undated photo released by the South Korean Air Force on Nov. 1, 2022. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

South Korea and the U.S. were scheduled to end the five-day Vigilant Storm practice on Friday, with around 240 aircraft, including F-35 stealth fighter jets, mobilized around the Korean Peninsula. But they decided to extend it in response to North Korea's firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Thursday.

The North accused the allies of pushing the regional security to an "uncontrollable" stage by extending the practice.

"Our military is maintaining a firm readiness posture for further provocations while closely monitoring the North Korean military's related movements under close cooperation between South Korea and the United States," the JCS said.

Last month, a group of 12 North Korean military aircraft were spotted flying south of a special reconnaissance line set by South Korea. Seoul then scrambled military aircraft, including F-35A fighter jets, in response.

odissy@yna.co.kr
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