The Air Force will be wheels up once again over South Korea as more aircraft team up to conduct exercises in the region.
A-10 Thunderbolts from the 25th Fighter Squadron, Osan Air Base, along with aircraft and personnel from South Korea's 237th Fighter Squadron, Wonju Air Base, will participate in a three-day long exercise Buddy Wing 16-2, the Air Force said in a release.
The 51st Fighter Wing out of Osan will host the aircraft beginning Feb. 22.
The second Buddy Wing this year will be just days after the Air Force sent four F-22s over the peninsula in a clear response to recent provocations by North Korea, which include a recent launch of a long-range rocket and a so-called hydrogen bomb test last month. The F-22s were accompanied by U.S. F-16s and South Korea's F-15K Slam Eagles.
"The ROK and U.S. combined air forces remain ready to deter North Korean threats, and are postured to defeat them with the strength of our combined air combat capability," Lt. Gen. Lee Wang-keon, the South Korea Air Force Operations Command commander, told reporters yesterday.
The U.S. military would not say how long the F-22s will be deployed in South Korea; however, F-22s from the 525th Fighter Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska and F-16s from the 18th Aggressor Squadron, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, deployed to Yokota Air Base, Japan, on Jan. 20 as part of a contingent of "more than 20 fighter aircraft" that would visit the base, U.S. Forces Japan spokesman Lt. Col. Kenneth Hoffman told Air Force Times last month.
It is unclear if the aircraft that conducted the flyover yesterday are one in the same.
For the second Buddy Wing, officials will aim to integrate with ROK air force KA-1 Woongbi fighter aircraft from the 237th FS, in order to "plan and fly together during forward air control missions," the release said.
The KA-1 Woongbi has similar mission capability of forward air control like the Air Force's A-10, according to the Air Force.
"Members participating in Buddy Wing 16-2 train to build relationships and broaden their knowledge of working in a joint environment with combined operations aimed at deterring enemy aggression," officials said.
A previous Buddy Wing held Jan. 25 to 29 included U.S. forces training with ROK counterparts at Seosan Air Base, South Korea; Four F-16s from the 36th Fighter Squadron out of Osan and more than 10 South Korean KF-16Cs from the 121st Fighter Squadron participated.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Oriana Pawlyk covers deployments, cyber, Guard/Reserve, uniforms, physical training, crime and operations in the Middle East, Europe and Pacific for Air Force Times. She was the Early Bird Brief editor in 2015. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.