South Korea will join the US-led Red Flag aerial combat training exercise next month for the first time in three years, the Republic of Korea Air Force said on Tuesday.
The drills will be held in Alaska from June 10-25 with the participation of about 1,500 troops and 100 aircraft. South Korea is planning to send F-15K fighter jets, cargo planes and dozens of servicemen to the exercise.
According to the Yonhap news agency, the Japanese Self-Defense Air Force will also join the training exercise, which will enable the participating countries to exchange “tactics, techniques and procedures while improving interoperability with fellow airmen.”
Red Flag exercises have been held since 1975. The last time the ROK Air Force took part in the drills was in 2018.
Earlier, there were reports that the Indian Air Force (IAF) was to take part in the drills with its Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets. The U.S. Air Force had canceled the first phase of the multilateral air drills, Red Flag, which was scheduled in Alaska from April 30.
“We got communication that Red Flag Alaska 20-1, scheduled from April 30 to May 15, has been canceled due to COVID-19,” a defense source said. The U.S. Pacific Air Fleet said on its website that the exercise was canceled owing to the travel restrictions imposed by the U.S. Department of Defence.
Red Flag-Alaska is a Pacific Air Forces-sponsored exercise meant to provide realistic training in a simulated combat environment over the Joint Pacific Alaska range complex, according to information on the U.S. Pacific Air Force website.