Japan air force drills with US bombers, stealth fighters near Korean peninsula

JASDF F-15 fighters held military drills with the US air force off the Korean peninsula on Dec 12, 2017.
JASDF F-15 fighters held military drills with the US air force off the Korean peninsula on Dec 12, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japanese F-15 fighters on Tuesday (Dec 12) held drills with US B1-B bombers, F-35 stealth aircraft and F-18 multirole combat jets above the East China Sea, south of the Korean peninsula, Japan's Air Self Defence Force (ASDF) said.

The exercise was the largest in a series aimed at pressuring North Korea following its ballistic missile tests. The latest launch, on Nov 29, featured a new missile type the North said could hit targets in the United States, such as Washington D.C.

"The drill was meant to bolster joint operations and raise combat skills," the ASDF said in a statement.

Two US Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers flew from Andersen Air Force Base on the US Pacific island territory of Guam, joined by six F-35s four F-18s and a tanker aircraft from US bases in Japan.

The Japanese air force dispatched four F-15 jet fighters and a patrol aircraft.

This story is developing.