US Pacific Command said that the Lancer bombers took off from an air base in Guam in “practiced attack capabilities by dropping inert weapons at the Pilsung Range.
Two U.S. B-1B bombers and American and South Korean fighter jets on Friday conducted an exercise that included practicing attack capabilities at a training range, in a show of force to North Korea days after that regime tested an intercontinental ballistic missile.
U.S. Pacific Command said the Lancer bombers took off from an air base in Guam and “practiced attack capabilities by releasing inert weapons at the Pilsung Range.”
The Pilsung Range is well inside South Korean territory, but local media reported that the bombers also flew close to the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two countries although they did not enter the zone or cross any demarcation lines.
“North Korea’s actions are a threat to our allies, partners and homeland,” Pacific Air Forces Commander Gen. Terrence O’ Shaughnessy said in a statement. “Let me be clear, if called upon we are trained, equipped and ready to unleash the full lethal capability of our allied air forces.”
Two U.S. officials said the show of force was intended to “send a clear message” to North Korea, ruled by the dictator Kim Jong Un.
“South Korea and U.S. air forces will immediately respond to enemy provocation in any form anytime and anywhere,” South Korean air force operational commander Lieutenant-General Won In Chu told reporters in a text message.
On Tuesday, North Korea fired a “two-stage” ICBM that the U.S. had never before seen used by Pyongyang, a missile Defense Department officials believe is capable of traveling 3,500 miles.