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US flies long-range B-1B bomber over Korean Peninsula in first live munitions drop in 7 years


The United States flew a B-1B bomber over the Korean Peninsula on Wednesday in the first live munitions drop over South Korea in seven years as part of joint air exercises between the two countries, the US and South Korea said Wednesday.

As part of the exercise, the US B-1B Lancer and two South Korean F-15K Eagles dropped precision 500-pound JDAMs (joint direct attack munitions), simultaneously striking multiple targets, the US said. The American bomber then flew with advanced South Korean F-35A and KF-16 fighter jets, as well as US fighters and tankers.

“This training showcases the incredible capabilities of our combined forces to simultaneously strike multiple targets in a contested environment,” said Lt. Gen. David Iverson, US Force Korea deputy commander and Seventh Air Force commander.

The exercise comes amid heightened tensions with North Korea after it sent hundreds of balloons carrying trash across the border to the South in recent days. North Korean leader ‘s sister and senior official Kim Yo Jong said the balloon were “strictly a responsive act” to South Korea’s years-long practice of sending balloons with anti-North Korea leaflets the other way.

The joint training on Wednesday marked the first time the B-1B has conducted “a live munitions drop” on the Korean Peninsula since 2017 to demonstrate its capability to “precisely strike deep target,” South Korea’s defense ministry said.

The B-1B carries the “largest conventional payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the US Air Force inventory and can rapidly deliver massive quantities of precision and non-precision weapons against any adversary, anywhere in the world, at any time,” the US military said.