The US military said on Monday that Apache attack helicopters stationed in South Korea are conducting live-fire exercises with artillery and missiles, as Seoul seeks to bolster deterrence against North Korea’s nuclear energy.
Police told AFP that the exercise, the first of its kind since 2019, will continue until July 29 near the Highly Protected Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas, at the site of Rodriguez’s live-fire complex. .
In a statement to AFP, an army spokesman said it helps ensure that US aircrews are “qualified on their Apaches, maintain proficiency in their helicopters, and are able to carry out their mission if requested to do so.”
The aircraft used is the AH-64E v6 Apache, according to images released by the US 2nd Infantry Division.
“The 5th Squadron of the 17th Cavalry Regiment and 4-2 Assault Battalion conduct airborne artillery fire exercises to efficiently hone their crews with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, Hydra 70 missiles and 30mm guns,” it was identified.
According to local media, the US military stopped using the Rodriguez Live Fire complex in 2018 due to complaints from residents about noise and safety.
The ongoing exercises are intended to “measure the noise,” according to a Defense Ministry official in Seoul, apparently referring to such concerns from local residents.
This type of joint exercise deeply resents Pyongyang, which it regards as an exercise in invasion.
Seoul and Washington, long-time regional security allies, said in May they were seeking to resume joint military exercises that were curtailed due to the novel coronavirus and the failure of talks with Pyongyang.
South Korea’s new president, Yoon Seok-yeol, who took office in May, has vowed to toughen his stance on Pyongyang, which has conducted a record number of weapons tests this year, including the launch of a full-range ICBM for the first time. time since 2017.
Six US F-35A fighters arrived in South Korea earlier this month for a 10-day joint exercise that ended on July 14. It was the first public deployment of US stealth warplanes in the country since late 2017.
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