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12 Air Force F-16s to deploy to Guam

The Air Force will deploy 12 F-16 fighter jets to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, in the next few weeks as part of a new theater security rotation.

More than 200 airmen with the 112th Fighter Squadron, Toledo Air National Guard Base, Ohio, will join the Fighting Falcons from the 125th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron at Kadena Air Base, Japan, according to a Pacific Air Forces news release.

Members from the 125th will rotate back to the United States as the Guard unit takes on the new mission, the release said.

The Air Force regularly deploys fighter aircraft for what is called a theater security package, which helps maintain regional security and stability against threats.

The routine deployment comes at a time of tensions in the region remain warped after North Korea on Wednesday claimed it tested a hydrogen bomb. Media reports say claim South Korean officials have asked the United States for "strategic weapons" on the Korean peninsula, but neither the Defense Department nor the State Department can confirm a course of action.

In February, the United States and five allied nations will participate in exercise Cope North at Andersen.

The three-week-long exercise is "designed to enhance multilateral air operations of the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force," according to a release.

South Korea, the Philippines and New Zealand will also participate this year.

The exercise will include more than 930 U.S. airmen and sailors, and more than 900 allied service members. Additionally, more than 100 aircraft, comprised of 23 flying units from the U.S. and Indo-Asia-Pacific region, will participate, the release said.

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