The first-ever Korea-U.S.-UK combined air force training, ‘Invincible Shield’, began in earnest at Osan airbase on November 8.
The air forces of the Korea-U.S.-UK issued a statement while introducing major participating fighting powers including Korean F-15K, the U.S. F-16 and the UK Typhoon fighters.
After becoming well-acquainted with mission airspace and topography from November 4 to 7, the Korea-U.S.-UK Air Forces developed a combined air combat maneuver training through 103 sorties that involved defensive counter air (DCA) responding to enemy air attack, air interdiction (AI) attacking main supply routes and targets, etc. around Osan airbase, eastern and western wide airspace, from the 8th to 10th of November.
‘Invincible Shield’ is the first combined air force training that our air force has conducted with a country other than the U.S. The Royal air force dispatched massed forces to Korea for the first time since the 6·25 Korean War, and said that they participated in the training to keep their commitment to observe international order based on a law-abiding spirit as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
The UK sent 4 Typhoon fighters, a C-17 transport, a Voyager tanker (A330 MRTT) and around 200 troops from the 2nd battalion of the Royal air force. The Eurofighter Typhoon, a 4.5-generation fighter being developed over the Korean Peninsula for the first time, boasts Mach 2 speeds and is capable of being equipped with ‘Taurus’, a long-range air-to-ground missile, which can precision-strike any of the main targets in North Korea.
Korea-U.S.-UK combined air force training
As well, the Voyager tanker is the same model as the Airbus A330 MRTT to be introduced by the Korean air force, and has attracted a lot of attention from Korean air force officials.
The Air Force expected the training with the Royal Air Force to showcase its ability to project its air power to East Asia, as well as to create a foothold that establishes closer security cooperation and a strong partnership for the future.
Also, ‘Invincible Shield’ is considered to be significant for all three countries, as it enhances the interoperability of weapons systems with other models multinational air forces hold, and enables various tactics and techniques.
Lieutenant General Won In-chul, commander of ROKAF operations command, at the announcement of each country’s statement, said, “This first-ever Korea-U.S.-UK air forces’ combined training will contribute greatly to enhancing combined air mission capability as well as improving military cooperation between Korean and the Royal Air Forces. Based on the strong Korea-U.S. alliance and cooperation with allied nations, we will do our utmost to maintain peace and stability in Korea.”
Air Chief Marshal Stephen Hillier, the Royal Air Force Chief of Staff said, “This very first combined training is a symbol of the special relationship the Korean and the UK air forces have had since the 6·25 Korean War, and that continues to this day. I’m very honored to have training with Korean and U.S. air forces.”
And Lieutenant General Thomas Bergeson, 7th U.S. Air Force commander in chief, emphasized that the 7th U.S. Air Force is ready to drive the enemy back anytime if necessary, saying that any threatening behavior of North Korea that impedes stability in the region will never be overlooked.
Meanwhile, the Air Force Chief of Staff Jung Kyung-du had a meeting with the Chief Marshal Stephen Hillier who visited Air Force Headquarters this morning to discuss ways to enhance fighting power and make military exchanges, promoting friendship between Korean and Royal Air Forces.
What’s the meaning of ‘Invincible Shield’?
The name of the training session, Invincible Shield, combines the ideas of ‘Invincible’ meaning strong air power and ‘Shield’ meaning protection. That is, strong air power protects the homeland’s airspace, which contains a message that Korea, the U.S. and the UK Air Forces actively cooperate with each other to maintain international order and peace in the Korean Peninsula.