Amid rising tensions over North Korea’s persistent missile launches, South Korea’s Air Force flexed its defensive muscle with air defense drills on Monday. The exercises, designed to bolster combat readiness, were conducted across 12 units nationwide and were synchronized with the ongoing South Korea-U.S. combined exercise drills, according to official sources.
The drills, part of the annual Ulchi Freedom Shield (UFS) exercise, employed around 20 aircraft, featuring models such as the F-35A, F-15K, KF-16, and FA-50 fighter jets. These exercises were aimed at training the fighters to trace and intercept invading aircraft, as well as preparing air defense and missile defense units to track missiles and take down enemy aircraft using surface-to-air missile systems like the mid-range Cheongung.
South Korea Reinforces Air Defense Amid Lingering Tensions
South Korea’s Air Force initiated air defense drills on Monday to bolster its combat readiness, according to official statements. This move comes as an apparent response to the continuous missile launches by North Korea, leading to heightened tensions in the region.
Nationwide Drills in Collaboration with US Forces
The defense drills were conducted across 12 different units nationwide, in conjunction with the major ongoing South Korea-U.S. combined exercise drills. These combined exercises aim to bolster the allied forces’ joint military readiness and enhance their capability to respond to any potential threats.
Deploying Advanced Fighter Jets
The air defense drills deployed approximately 20 aircraft, including advanced F-35A, F-15K, KF-16 and FA-50 fighter jets. The drills simulated scenarios of cruise missile launches and airspace violations by enemy aircraft. The primary focus was to train the fighters to track and intercept the planes, while also training troops from air defense and missile defense units to track the missiles and shoot down the aircraft using surface-to-air missile systems, including the mid-range Cheongung.
Ulchi Freedom Shield Exercise
These drills are part of the annual Ulchi Freedom Shield (UFS) exercise, which commenced its 11-day run earlier in the day. The Air Force has planned various combined field exercises with the U.S. Air Force during the UFS, including combat search and rescue training and live-fire drills. These exercises are designed to enhance the troops’ readiness to respond to a variety of combat scenarios.
The recent air defense drills by South Korea’s Air Force underscore the country’s commitment to maintaining a high level of combat readiness amidst escalating tensions with North Korea. By conducting these drills in conjunction with the U.S., South Korea sends a clear message of unity and strength to any potential adversaries. The deployment of advanced fighter jets and missile systems further highlights the seriousness with which South Korea is preparing for any potential threats. As the Ulchi Freedom Shield exercise continues, we can expect to see further demonstrations of military readiness and strategic alignment between South Korea and the U.S.