U.S. stealth fighters arrive in South Korea for joint drills

Courtesy of the U.S. Forces in South Korea
A U.S. Air Force F-35A stealth fighter lands in South Korea on Tuesday.

SEOUL — Six U.S. Air Force F-35A stealth fighters have arrived in South Korea from a base in Alaska for 10 days of joint training with the South Korean Air Force, according to an announcement by South Korea’s National Defense Ministry and the U.S. Forces in South Korea.

It was the first public acknowledgment of a deployment of U.S. Air Force F-35As to South Korea in about five years.

The deployment is believed to be aimed at deterring North Korea, which has been making moves to conduct a nuclear test.

South Korea’s defense ministry said Tuesday the purpose of the drills was to demonstrate the deterrence and defense posture of the ROK-U.S. alliance, and to enhance the interoperability of the South Korean and U.S. air forces.

The F-35A is expected to be used to strike North Korea’s nuclear facilities and the heart of Pyongyang in the event of a contingency on the Korean Peninsula.

The South Korean Air Force has 40 F-35A fighters, some of which will participate in the training exercise.