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South Korea Deploys KF-16, FA-50 to “Shoot Down” North Korean Ballistic Missiles

In the aerial exercise involving 10 fighter jets, the South Korean Air Force (ROKAF)'s KF-16 and FA-50 aircraft launched air-to-air missiles to shoot down drones acting as proxy "ballistic missiles" launched by Pyongyang.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — As tensions on the Korean Peninsula escalate due to North Korea’s various missile launch tests, Seoul has mobilized fighter aircraft to conduct air exercises aimed at intercepting ballistic missiles launched by Pyongyang.

 In recent exercises, South Korea deployed KF-16 (a variant of the F-16) and FA-50 fighter jets in these air drills to counter the “missile attacks” initiated by its traditional adversary, North Korea.

These aircraft, including the FA-50 and KF-16, reportedly succeeded in shooting down North Korean ballistic missiles.

Beyond the ballistic missile threat from North Korea, the South Korean Air Force’s fighter jets also dropped precision-guided munitions on Pyongyang’s artillery positions during the air exercises, coinciding with the commencement of the Freedom Shield Exercise between the United States and South Korea.

The Freedom Shield Exercise, which began last week, aims to enhance the defense capabilities of the Combined Military Combined Center (CMCC) along with the military command centers of both nations.

Korea Utara
North Korean KN-23.


During the air exercise involving 10 fighter jets, South Korea’s Air Force (ROKAF) aircraft launched air-to-air missiles at drones acting as ballistic missile proxies launched by Pyongyang.

 While the specific type of air-to-air missiles used by the ROKAF fighter jets against aerial targets in the exercise was not disclosed, it is believed that ROKAF launched AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles at the targets.

In addition to the long-range AIM-120 AMRAAM and short-range AIM-9 missiles, Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and the German defense company Diehl Defence have entered into a partnership that will see KAI’s FA-50 and KF-21 “Boramae” fighters equipped with the medium-range “IRIS-T” air-to-air missile developed by Diehl Defence.

The “IRIS-T” missile, designed for engaging aerial targets at distances of up to 25km using infrared and radar homing guidance, has been developed by Diehl Defence.

 Last March, KAI also successfully conducted tests of the “Meteor BVR (Beyond Visual Range)” long-range air-to-air missile developed by the defense company MBDA.



This partnership with MBDA is set to equip KAI-developed fighters, including the KF-21 “Boramae”, with other MBDA-developed missiles such as SPEAR, ASRAAM, and Brimstone.

The Freedom Shield Exercise 2014, which began on March 4 and will conclude on November 14, 2024, involves a wide range of assets from both militaries.

 On the first day of the air exercise, key U.S. intelligence assets such as the RC-135V surveillance aircraft and RC-12X Guardrail, along with HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance) RQ-4 Global drones, were also deployed.

South Korean media report that the Freedom Shield Exercise is among the largest organized following Pyongyang’s withdrawal from a military agreement signed between the two countries last year. — DSA