(LEAD) JCS chief inspects allies' special ops drills, calls for accurate strike capabilities
(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in paras 7-11)
SEOUL, March 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's top military officer has inspected combined special operations drills with the United States and called on the troops to maintain their capabilities to "strike the enemy's critical facilities without fail," his office said Thursday.
Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Chairman Gen. Kim Seung-kyum checked their readiness during Monday's segment of the Exercise Teak Knife involving the two countries' special commandos, a AC-130J gunship and a MC-130J multi-mission combat transport aircraft.
His visit to the exercise came amid worries that North Korea could engage in provocations in response to the allies' regular Freedom Shield exercise set to begin later this month.
"(Kim) stressed the importance of harnessing the capability to strike the enemy's critical facilities without fail, and establishing a wartime combined operations posture by enhancing interoperability between the allies through realistic combined special operations training," the JCS said in a press release.
Kim also pointed out the North's rising threats of provocation, while highlighting the need to establish "capabilities and a posture that can inflict critical damage on the enemy and force a victorious resolution to the conflict."
It marks the first time that the AC-130J has been sent to the Korean Peninsula for allied drills, according to the JCS. The warplane is equipped with various strike assets, including the GBU-39 precision-guided glide bomb.
The JCS released some footage of the drills showing the AC-130J firing AGM-176 Griffin and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and the GBU-39 bomb during precision strike drills targeting an uninhabited island.
"The AC-130J is the latest upgraded version of its type, and has been deployed to the peninsula for the first time in tune with efforts to strengthen the South Korea-U.S. alliance," JCS spokesperson Col. Lee Sung-jun told a regular press briefing.
Capt. Kimberly Chatto, director of public affairs for U.S. Special Operations Command-Korea, told Yonhap News that the dispatch of the AC-130J gives opportunities to support America's extended deterrence.
Extended deterrence refers to the U.S.' commitment to mobilizing a full range of its military capabilities, including nuclear, to defend its allies.
For the exercise, the U.S. has deployed the AC-130J from Hurlburt Air Force Base in Florida and the MC-130J aircraft from the 353rd Special Operations Wing at Kadena Air Base in Japan.
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