Seoul, Nov 4 (EFE).- South Korea mobilized dozens of combat aircraft Friday after identifying a large deployment of North Korean aircraft, which in the last two days has launched some 30 missiles to respond to large air maneuvers of Seoul and Washington.
“Our military took action after identifying some 180 North Korean military aircraft between 11 am and 3 pm (2 am-6 am GMT) Friday, November 4,” the South Korean defense ministry said in a statement.
“The Air Force of (South Korea) quickly mobilized its superior resources, including 80 units of F-35A,” read the text, which added that some 240 aircraft participating in the joint exercises with the US “Vigilant storm” maintain a “vigilant posture” while performing the aforementioned maneuvers.
The detection of the North Korean aircraft comes after Pyongyang launched around 30 projectiles between Wednesday and Thursday.
One of them, a long-range ballistic missile, apparently failed in mid-flight as it was about to fly over Japan, while another short-range missile landed very close to South Korean territorial waters, something that had never happened before.
In retaliation for these launches, the allies have announced that the exercises, which involve some 240 aircraft and were to end today, will last until Saturday.
“Vigilant storm” is the largest combined air exercise between South Korea and the US since 2017 and includes the mobilization of F-15, F-16, EA-18G fighters (the version of the F-18 fighter-bomber adapted for electronic warfare), F-35A and F-35B, which unlike the F-35A can perform short takeoffs and vertical takeoffs and landings.
It is the first time that the Pentagon has flown F-35B units into South Korean territory, a factor that may have especially angered Pyongyang, which on Tuesday already threatened to respond forcefully to these war games.
Tension on the peninsula is reaching unprecedented heights in the face of repeated North Korean weapons tests, allied maneuvers and the possibility that, as satellites indicate, Kim Jong-un’s regime is ready for its first test nuclear since 2017. EFE