US and South Korean air forces begin Exercise Max Thunder
The air forces of the US and Republic of Korea (ROK) are conducting the bilateral training exercise, code-named Max Thunder, at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea.
Close to 1,000 US personnel and nearly 500 personnel from South Korea will take part in the exercise.
The flying exercise will also feature a wide range of US aircraft, including F-16s from Seventh Air Force, AV-8Bs from the 12th Marine Aircraft Group, EA-18Gs from the Electronic Attack Squadron 132, and numerous Korean aircraft such as F-15K, F-16, F-5E, F-4E, KA-1, C-130, HH-60, and CN 235.
Seventh Air Force commander lieutenant general Thomas W Bergeson said: "Exercise Max Thunder serves as an invaluable opportunity for US and ROKAF forces to train together shoulder-to-shoulder and sharpen tactical skills vital to the defence and security of the Korean Peninsula.
"This exercise will rigorously test our aerial combat capability and highlights the ironclad commitment between the US and the ROK and the multifaceted capabilities we possess in this theatre.”
Said to be the second largest flying exercise held on the Korean Peninsula, Max Thunder forms part of a continuous exercise programme that is designed to improve interoperability between the US and ROK forces.
The annual exercise highlights the long-standing military partnership and commitment between the two nations to help ensure peace and security in North East Asia. It follows increased tensions in the region, with North Korea recently parading its military for television cameras and the country's unsuccessful launch of a nuclear missile.
Image: Exercise Max Thunder is part of a continuous exercise programme to enhance interoperability between US and ROK forces. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson/Released.