US flies B-1B bomber in first precision bomb exercise in 7 years as tensions rise with North Korea

South Korea says the United States flew a B-1B long-range bomber over the Korean Peninsula for its first precision-guided bombing exercise with the South in seven years.

SEOUL, South Korea — The United States flew a B-1B long-range bomber over the Korean Peninsula on Wednesday for its first precision-guided bombing exercise with South Korea in seven years, it said. the South Korean army.

The exercise – seen as a show of force against North Korea – comes as tensions rise following the North’s recent launches of balloons carrying waste to South Korea and other provocations.

Wednesday’s training involved other advanced U.S. and South Korean fighter jets as well as the B-1B aircraft, the second U.S. bomber temporarily deployed over the Korean Peninsula this year. The exercise aimed to demonstrate the United States’ security commitment to South Korea and strengthen the allies’ common defense posture, according to the South Korean Defense Ministry.

During the training, the B-1B dropped joint direct attack munitions while being escorted by South Korean aircraft, the first such bombing exercise for a U.S. bomber since 2017, according to a statement from the ministry.

South Korean warplanes also conducted live-fire exercises to demonstrate that the country is prepared to punish North Korea if provoked.

JDAM bombs include “bunker busters”. JDAM is a guidance system that converts conventional unguided bombs into more precise GPS-guided weapons. All US fighter jets, bombers and drones can use JDAMs, and these munitions are part of the weapons systems the US is providing to Ukraine to help it fight the Russian invasion.

North Korea is extremely sensitive to exercises using bunker busting bombs, which could threaten its leadership and its complex network of tunnels and underground military structures.

A B-1B is capable of carrying a large payload of conventional weapons. North Korea has already called the bomber deployment evidence of U.S. hostility. North Korea responded to earlier flights of B-1Bs and other powerful U.S. aircraft into South Korea with its own missile tests.

Last week, North Korea floated hundreds of huge balloons to drop manure, cigarette butts, scraps of cloth and waste batteries across South Korea, angering previous campaigns by South Korean civilians to send balloons with leaflets and other items to North Korea. South Korea responded by vowing to take “unbearable” retaliatory measures and suspended a fragile military agreement with North Korea, calling on both sides to reduce tensions along their border.

The suspension of the 2018 inter-Korean agreement allows South Korea to resume military activities such as live-fire exercises or broadcasts of anti-North Korean propaganda via loudspeakers in border areas. Such moves will likely prompt North Korea to take provocative steps in response.

Recently, North Korea launched a rocket in an attempt to place a second spy satellite into orbit, in violation of UN resolutions, but it exploded shortly after takeoff. It also tested nuclear-capable weapons for an exercise simulating a preemptive strike against South Korea and allegedly jammed GPS navigation signals in South Korea.

Since 2022, North Korea has sharply accelerated the pace of its missile tests in what foreign experts call an attempt to build a larger nuclear arsenal and increase its influence in future diplomacy, U.S. disarmament negotiations nuclear power between Pyongyang and Washington remaining dormant since 2019.

Leave a Comment