The Republic of Korea Air Force's (ROKAF) F-15K Slam Eagle fighter aircraft will participate in the US-led multinational aerial combat training exercise Red Flag in 2013, an unidentified senior military official has revealed.
The official was quoted by The Yonhap News Agency as saying that the aircraft, along with other fighter jets, will fly non-stop by aerial refuelling to a military base in Alaska, where the exercise is scheduled to be held in August 2013.
The exercisewill see a ROKAF fighter aircraft travelling non-stop to a foreign military base for the first time to take part in joint overseas drill.
A US Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft will conduct mid-air refuelling of the South Korean fighters for seven to eight hours as they fly to Alaska, reports The Chosun Ilbo.
In the 2012 Red Flag exercise, which was conducted in January at Nellis Air Force Base (AFB) in Nevada, US, a pair of ROKAF's F-15K fighters participated following their roll-out from Boeing's assembly line in St. Louis in Missouri, US.
A total of 60 aircraft have been purchased by ROKAF in two batches as part of its multi-billion dollar F-X fighter programme since April 2002, to help defend their airspace through 2040 and beyond.
Powered by General Electric F110-GE-129 engines, the F-15K Slam Eagles is an advanced variant of the F-15 Strike Eagle, featuring latest technological upgrades, and entered operational service in July 2008 after performing its first flight in March 2005.
Held periodically at Nellis AFB and Eielson AFB, the Red Flag is a multi-national air-to-air combat training exercise designed to provide participants with an opportunity to practice and enhance their skills for combat missions.
Image: a ROKAF's F-15K Slam Eagle aircraft arrives at Nellis AFB for the Red Flag exercise. Photo: courtesy of Chief Master Sgt. Gary Emery., USAF.