South Korea and the United States launched large-scale joint aerial drills on Monday, officials said, a week after North Korea said it had tested its most advanced missile as part of a weapons programme that has raised global tensions.
The annual U.S.-South Korean drill, called Vigilant Ace, will run until Friday, with six F-22 Raptor stealth fighters to be deployed among the more than 230 aircraft taking part. The exercises have been condemned as a provocation by the isolated North.
F-35 fighters will also join the drill, which will also include the largest number of 5th generation fighters to take part, according to a South Korea-based U.S. Air Force spokesman.
Around 12,000 U.S. service members, including from the Marines and Navy, will join South Korean troops. Aircraft taking part will be flown from eight U.S. and South Korean military installations.
The joint exercise is designed to enhance readiness and operational capability and to ensure peace and security on the Korean peninsula, the U.S. military had said before the drills began.