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Korea Times

UK’s Typhoon jets train in Korea for 1st time

UK-South Korea-US joint drill unveils twin-engine jet in an exercise as ‘part of our big-picture strategy,’ notes a South Korean air force major

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 November, 2016, 2:19pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 November, 2016, 2:22pm

By Yi Whan-woo

The United Kingdom unveiled one of its key warplanes, the Typhoon, during a joint drill with South Korea and the United States at the U.S. air base in Osan, Gyeonggi Province, Tuesday.

Four Typhoon fighter jets conducted flights here for the first time, in an aerial exercise titled “Invincible Shield” along with South Korea’s F-15Ks and American F-16s over the air base.

The Typhoon is a twin-engine jet capable of multi-role combat, including air-to-air and air-to-ground strikes. It can carry the Taurus 350 radar-evading cruise missiles.

The plane has a maximum speed of mach 2.

The Royal Air Force (RAF) has been operating Typhoons in the Middle East in recent years, including in strike missions against ISIS.

The trilateral aerial drill began on Nov. 4. It will run until Thursday.

The RAF also deployed a Voyager tanker aircraft and C-17 Globemaster tactical transport aircraft.

“The three countries’ air forces are especially focusing on countering incoming attacks from enemy planes and striking command posts and other key facilities of the foes through simulation,” a South Korean air force major said. “We expect the drill will help enhance operation of aerial weaponry in a mutual manner.”

Citing that the U.K. is a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, the RAF said the country will put forward efforts to protect peace on the Korean Peninsula.

The RAF, however, said its participation at the joint exercise is not related to heightened tension on the peninsula due to North Korea’s military provocations.

On Oct. 31, U.K. Ambassador to South Korea Charles Hay also said the exercise is not particularly aimed at countering North Korean attacks but rather a “part of our big-picture strategy” in the Asia-Pacific region.

After learning about the plan for the joint exercise, the North Korean foreign ministry asked the U.K. in September to call off such a plan. Pyongyang claimed that it would be “an invasive action.”

The RAF will move the Typhoons and other aircraft to Japan in mid-November for a bilateral exercise with the Japanese air force, according to the military sources.