The F-22 and F-35B stealth fighters are expected to be rotated on a quarterly basis at Osan Air Base or Kunsan Air Base as part of an effort to boost deterrence against North Korea’s threats
South Korean officials say the U.S. is considering a rotational deployment of U.S. Air Force (USAF) F-22 and U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) F-35B stealth fighters to the Korean Peninsula.
The news comes after North Korea detonated a nuclear weapon on Sept. 3.
The stealth jets are expected to be rotated on a quarterly basis at Osan Air Base, south of Seoul, or Kunsan Air Base, located at Gunsan Airport, as part of an effort to boost deterrence against North Korea’s threats.
“It is believed that the US is positive toward rotational deployment of F-22 and F-35B jets over Korea as it remains firm in countering North Korea’s provocations,” a South Korea government source said to The Korean Herald.
As we have previously reported the U.S. has periodically sent strategic assets to South Korea, including B-1B bombers, as a show of force in direct response to North Korea’s escalatory launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
But now considering a rotational deployment of stealth aircraft in South Korea reflects growing concerns about advancements of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
Moreover according to The Korean Herald, Washington is taking in consideration Seoul request to provide more powerful and “extended deterrence” in the form of a possible deployment of nuclear armament in South Korea.
When talking about extended deterrence in fact the U.S. refers to mobilize its full range of conventional and strategic military assets, including nuclear capabilities, to protect its allies.
A claim confirmed also by Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, U.S. Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) commander, who said on Jul. 29 “North Korea remains the most urgent threat to regional stability. Diplomacy remains the lead; however, we have a responsibility to our allies and our nation to showcase our unwavering commitment while planning for the worst-case scenario. If called upon, we are ready to respond with rapid, lethal, and overwhelming force at a time and place of our choosing.”
Photo credit: Petty Officer 3rd Class Jacob D. Moore / U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com