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ROK/U.S. Air Forces Commit to “Overwhelming Response to Any Provocation”

Largest Korea Flying Training (KFT) session to date

The KFT, featuring approximately 100 aircraft and running through April 26

Notable participants include an F-35B and an MQ-9 Reaper.

On the morning of April 19, a U.S. Marine Corps F-


On the morning of April 19, a U.S. Marine Corps F-35B stealth fighter executed a circling maneuver over Kunsan Air Force Base as part of the 2024 KFT.


In the morning of April 19, the F-35B rolled onto the taxiway of Kunsan Air Base, preparing for takeoff. As it neared the runway, the outline of the aircraft became increasingly distinct. Its commanding presence stirred excitement and demonstrated a formidable show of strength, sufficient to intimidate any adversary.


The pilot flashed a thumbs up from behind the canopy—a transparent enclosure around the cockpit—to the journalists gathered by the runway, signaling readiness for the sortie. With a thunderous roar, the F-35B launched from the runway's end and ascended sharply into the sky.


The ROK/U.S. Air Forces have released footage from KFT 2024. This joint exercise, held from April 12 to 26, is an annual event aimed at enhancing the integration of combined and joint airpower. It is the largest combined aerial exercise conducted on the Korean Peninsula.


The training engaged approximately 1,400 troops from the ROK and U.S. Air Forces, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Over 100 aircraft, encompassing 25 different types, participated in the exercise.


The MQ-9 Reaper, an unmanned aerial vehicle, was observed at the airbase where its various sensors and equipment were inspected prior to takeoff. After a final check, the MQ-9 Reaper proceeded to the runway and ascended silently into the sky.


Meanwhile, as the F-35B conducted a sortie, ROKAF F-15K, KF-16, FA-50, and U.S. Air Force F-16 and A-10 attack aircraft were visible in the sky above the base. These aircraft had already performed air-to-surface strike missions and were returning to base as the journalists arrived.


During the latter half of the exercise, the ROK/U.S. Air Forces conducted air-to-ground live-fire exercises, including immediate air interdiction (X-INT), at the Pilsung Range. X-INT missions aim to intercept and neutralize enemy attacks swiftly by striking targets identified through intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets.


The Air Force reported that the live-fire exercise concluded with a precision strike: two ROK F-35A stealth fighters and three U.S. F-16 fighters dropped a GBU-12 laser-guided bomb, which accurately destroyed a Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL) target. Following this, ten A-10s, two F-35Bs, and one MQ-9 Reaper employed precision-guided munitions to obliterate ground targets and neutralize surface-to-air threats, showcasing advanced precision strike capabilities.


ROK/U.S. soldiers demonstrated their commitment to strengthening interoperability within the framework of the ROK-U.S. Alliance during a live exercise.


ROK AF F-35A pilot Major Kim Seong-jun commented, “The close teamwork between ROK and U.S. pilots was palpable, affirming the strength of our alliance. The exercise bolstered our confidence to decisively overcome any adversary with an overwhelming response to provocations.”


U.S. Marine Corps F-35B pilot Captain Justin Henry stated, “Training with dissimilar aircraft is crucial for enhancing interoperability and joint operational capabilities. I had a very meaningful experience during this exercise.”

By Hyun-woo, Seo <>

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