Korea — Two Years of Perseverance: We can Strike the Early Stages with Pinpoint Accuracy”

Soon after a brief on a flight drill, Lt. Col. Lee Jae-deuk, direc­tor of the 121st Fight­er Squadron of the 20th Fight­er Wing, called on the pilots who are about to make a sor­tie, “Remind­ing your­selves of the mot­to of 46 Cheoan war­riors ‘We per­form our mis­sions devot­ing our mind and body to the coun­try,’ you fight­er pilots should per­form your duties with a form con­vic­tion of ulti­mate vic­to­ry.”

KF-15 fight­er air­craft at the 20th Fight­er Wing are tax­ing toward the run­way to strike assumed ene­my. By Jeong Ui-hun
Source: MND, Repub­lic of Korea
Weapon tech­ni­cians arm a KF-16 fight­er jet with a Joint Direct Attack Muni­tion (JDAM).
Source: MND, Repub­lic of Korea

The Fight­er Wing con­duct­ed on March 21 a fight­ers max­i­mum sor­tie lev­el drill com­pris­ing quick­ly arm­ing fight­ers with the max­i­mum of weapons and then tak­ing off, and destroy­ing assumed key ene­my tar­gets includ­ing the com­mand­ing group.

This drill was designed, ahead of the Seoul Nuclear Secu­ri­ty Sum­mit and the sec­ond anniver­sary of the Cheo­nan sink­ing, to show a strong will to break­ing the will of provo­ca­tion of the ene­my and to strike even the ini­tial stage of ene­my provo­ca­tion.

KF-16 fight­ers armed with var­i­ous weapons was tak­ing off one by one in the ear­ly morn­ing in the air­field of the 29th Air Force Fight­er Wing.

As soon as an order to destroy key ene­my tar­gets was issued, all the weapon tech­ni­cians and main­te­nance crew of the base began to load KF-16 fight­ers buzzing around with air-to-air mis­siles like AIM-9M sidewinders, JDAM guid­ed bombs, and AGM-65G mav­er­ick mis­siles.

While a group of weapon tech­ni­cians is com­posed of five, for this drill to mas­ter the more oper­a­tions capa­bil­i­ties in time of war, a group is made up of four in order for the tech­ni­cians to be able to arm the fight­ers with a max­i­mum of weapons in the short­est time. The tech­ni­cians had to care­ful­ly yet quick­ly load the air­craft with a heavy JDAM weigh­ing one ton.

“Since last year, we have been capa­ble of installing the Joint Direct Attack Munition(JDAM)-equipped pre­ci­sion-guid­ed weapon onto KF-16 Fight­ers, our muni­tion sys­tems spe­cial­ists have refined their skill to accu­rate­ly and quick­ly arm an air­craft with that weapon,” said Cap. Yang Si-seok, leader of the Air­craft Main­te­nance Squadron. “We will do our best to keep enhanc­ing the abil­i­ty to employ weapons until being capa­ble of pun­ish­ing thor­ough­ly the start­ing point of ene­my provo­ca­tions.

Fin­ished arm­ing with weapons to get ready to fly sor­ties, KF-16 fight­ers moved onto the run­way in a fin­ger four for­ma­tion to final­ly get them checked. Soon after­ward, the air­craft soared up blow­ing out flames to the sky as if they have wait­ed for this very moment for so long.

The run­way was heat­ed up by fly­ing one sor­tie after anoth­er, and the air around it was shim­mer­ing with heat. The max­i­mum sor­tie exer­cise in which dozens of fight­ers made sor­ties was focused on com­mu­ni­cat­ing organ­i­cal­ly and fol­low­ing the stan­dard pro­ce­dure, because the par­tic­i­pants’ momen­tary loss of con­cen­tra­tion in an urgent con­di­tion can lead to very big acci­dents.

Watch­ing the fight­ers fly­ing grad­u­al­ly far­ther away, the direc­tor of the 212nd Fight­er Squadron empha­sized, “Mod­ern war­fare is pre­ci­sion strike war­fare,” and then explained, “Each of the fight­ers is to quick­ly and com­plete­ly strike its impor­tant strate­gic spot of the ene­my, such as a com­mand cen­ter, radar site, coastal artillery, and war­ship.”

The squadron of KF-16 fight­ers, assigned to the West Sea, had car­ried out their mis­sions like an air-to-air and air-to-sur­face com­bat for more than one hour and a live ord­nance exer­cise bomb­ing on assumed tar­gets, and returned safe­ly to the base.

“We know the Kore­an peo­ple have had great expec­ta­tions of the Air Force since the sink­ing of the Cheo­nan naval ves­sel inci­dent and the artillery shelling of Yeon­pyeong Island,” the direc­tor of the 212nd Fight­er Squadron said, “so the Air Force will res­olute­ly pun­ish any ene­my provo­ca­tions.”

In the mean­time, the 20th Fight­er Wing was arranged into two teams to con­duct its oper­a­tions, each con­sist­ing of the flight squadron and avi­a­tion main­te­nance squadron. Each team under­took var­i­ous drills includ­ing mak­ing exi­gent sor­ties, urgent return to the base, re-mobi­liza­tion, and emer­gency refu­el­ing.

Min­istry of Nation­al Defense[MND], Repub­lic of Korea