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Ten Stealth Fighters Deployed to Korea

Posted June. 29, 2004 22:11,   


About 10 state-of-the-art U.S. F-117 stealth bombers are being deployed to a Korean air base on May 29 and 30.

“F-117 aircraft will stay here for three or four months to learn the topography of the Korean peninsula, Japan and nearby sea areas, and will be trained to be accustomed to plans regarding the Korean peninsula made by the Korea-US Combined Forces Command,” the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday.

The F-117, which is a strategic weapon optimized for night raids and precision bombing because it is virtually invisible to radar, has come to Korea several times since the Team Sprit exercise in 1993. It, however, is the first time that more than ten stealth fighters have been deployed in South Korea at one time.

Considering the U.S. Air Force has 55 F-117s total, the number of fighters coming to Korea is considerable.

The U.S. Forces will reportedly include the deployment’s training expenses into its 11-billion-dollar strategic plan for the U.S. Forces in Korea (USFK). This raises the possibility that U.S. forces may base F-117s in South Korea on a regular basis in line with the reduction in the USFK.

The F-117s are flying directly to Korea from the U.S. mainland with the help of aerial refueling. Korean military observers analyze that by the deployment, the U.S. is showing its willingness to utilize F-117s as swift military power in the case of an emergency on the peninsula.

Ho-Won Choi bestiger@donga.com