Two days after North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test flew directly over Northern Japan, the United States and South Korea reciprocated with another show of force intended to demonstrate to Kim’s regime the allies’ ability to retaliate in the event of a real missile strike, this time, using advanced fighter jets.
Four US F-35B fighter jets joined two US B-1B bombers and four South Korean F-15 fighter jets in a joint flyover of the Korean peninsula. The F-35Bs, touted as the most advanced fighters on the planet by the U.S. military, coupled with B-1B Lancer bombers, each capable of carrying a payload of 75,000 pounds of conventional ordnance, send a dramatic message in themselves, but for international purposes, the comparably less capable South Korean F-15s play just as vital a role.
North Korea’s actions are a threat to our allies, partners and homeland, and their destabilizing actions will be met accordingly,” said Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, commander of Pacific Air Forces, adding that the flyover was a “direct response to North Korea’s intermediate range ballistic missile launch.”
“This complex mission clearly demonstrates our solidarity with our allies and underscores the broadening cooperation to defend against this common regional threat. Our forward deployed force will be the first to the fight, ready to deliver a lethal response at a moment’s notice if our nation calls.”