US and South Korean air forces begin combined flying operations
The US and South Korean air forces are conducting combined flying operations as part of Buddy Wing 17-4, at Jungwon Air Base, South Korea.
The Buddy Wing training will witness participation from six F-16 Fighting Falcons of the 35th Fighter Squadron, which took off from Kunsan air base on 15 May to support Buddy Wing 17-4.
The training is conducted multiple times a year and aims to improve flying operations between the US and South Korean air forces.
35th Fighter Squadron instructor pilot air force captain Ryan Clisset said: “These exercises give us an opportunity to integrate with our [South Korean] counterparts.
“We share tactics, intelligence and operations, which are the skills we need to use if we ever had to take the fight to an enemy.”
During the five-day exercise, participating forces will get to know each other's pre-, in-air and post-flight processes.
They will also work on communication barriers that might arise during operations.
Clisset added: “This exercise helps us bridge the language and culture gaps that we may have.
“We are able to learn and grow together. Eventually, we get to a point where we can speak the same language and know each other’s tactics.”
The exercise will focus on air-to-ground targeting in an opposed environment, and surface-to-air and air-to-air threats will be simulated to give the US and South Korean pilots a feel for what opposing forces might carry out.
Image: Three F-16 Fighting Falcons taxi at Kunsan Air Base in South Korea. Photo: courtesy of the US Air Force photo by senior airman Michael Hunsaker.