The South Korean and US air forces launched Monday a massive joint exercise to sharpen their ability to work together in simulated war situations, the Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency reported Monday.
The annual Max Thunder exercise, which will run through Friday, involves about 60 warplanes, including a fleet of F-15K fighter jets from the South and F-16 fighters as well as AWACS air surveillance planes from the US the Air Force said in a statement, according to Yonhap.
Some 300 pilots from the allies were mobilized for the drill over the southwestern airspace of the Korean Peninsula, the report said, adding that training missions include simulating air battles with four or eight jets and neutralizing an enemy’s air defense system in case of an all-out war.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula remain high following North Korea’s two deadly attacks on the South last year, the March 2010 sinking of a South Korean warship and the November bombardment of a southern island. About 28,500 US troops are stationed in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War.