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US deploys fighter jets in S. Korea for air exercise in Singapore

Dec. 4, 2023 - 11:06 By Yonhap
A US Air Force F-16 fighter jet returns to Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, 60 kilometers south of Seoul, on Nov. 27, after taking part in the Commando Sling exercise in Singapore, in this photo provided by the US Air Force. (Yonhap)

A group of US fighter jets stationed in South Korea joined an annual aerial exercise in Singapore last month, the US Air Force has said, with a commercial aircraft refueling the fighters en route to the city-state for the first time.

The US military deployed six F-16s of the 51st Fighter Wing at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, 60 kilometers south of Seoul, to participate in the bilateral Commando Sling exercise with the Singaporean Air Force at Paya Lebar Air Base from Nov. 6 to 24.

During the flight to the city-state, a commercial KDC‐10 tanker aircraft refueled the F-16s in the first such instance, the US military said.

The US Air Force has previously deployed its fighters in South Korea for Commando Sling. In 2018, six F-16s from Kunsan Air Base in Gunsan, 178 km south of Seoul, joined the exercise.

The latest three-week exercise featured fighter air-to-air capabilities and flight support operations, with the Osan-based jets training with Singaporean F-15, F-16 and A-330 multi-role tanker transport aircraft, the service said.

"Osan pilots were able to train in dissimilar dog fighting, combined tactics and increase airborne training time through air-to-air refueling," it said in a recent release.

Commando Sling, which first began in 1990, is designed to build aerial communication, increase interoperability and improve alliance capability between the two countries' air forces, according to the US military. (Yonhap)