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“Dogfights” Between USAF’s F-22 Raptor, F-35A From ROKAF Over Korean Peninsula

On May 16th, two F-22 "Raptor" fighter jets from the United States Air Force (USAF) and two F-35A fighters from the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) conducted air combat training exercises (simulation dogfights) over South Korean airspace.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — On May 16th, two F-22 “Raptor” fighter jets from the United States Air Force (USAF) and two F-35A fighters from the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) conducted air combat training exercises (dogfights) over South Korean airspace.

This marked the first time a specialized air combat training involving both fifth-generation aircraft from the USA and South Korea took place over the Korean Peninsula.

 The purpose of the air combat exercises between the F-22s and F-35s was to test and enhance the skills of both allied air forces, as reported by the business newspaper, Maeil.

However, the primary intent of these air combat exercises between the F-22 and F-35 may largely be to serve as a warning to North Korea and China, both of which are in close proximity to the Korean Peninsula.

Currently, the ROKAF operates 39 F-35A fighter jets, while the United States possesses more than 170 F-22 fighters, which are exclusively used by the USAF due to their sensitive technology that restricts export to other countries.

F-22

According to ROKAF, the four advanced fighter aircraft alternated roles between defending and attacking in the air warfare simulations between the two nations’ air forces.

 Exercises like these help the pilots of fifth-generation fighter aircraft develop skills, tactics, and knowledge in close-range air combat.

The joint exercises between the F-22s and F-35s occurred following the arrival of the F-22 jets at Gunsan Air Base on May 13th, as stated by the United States Department of Defense.

The Department of Defense revealed that the F-22s are from the 19th and 199th Expeditionary Fighter Squadrons of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii, but have been operating from Kadena Air Base in Japan since mid-April.

 “The visit of the F-22 Raptor fighter jets to South Korea demonstrates the capability of U.S. Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) to project power to any critical point to strengthen control and governance in the Indo-Pacific.”

F-22

This is the first visit of the F-22 fighters since the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Industry Exhibition [ADEX] last year.

The F-22 fighters will also test the capabilities of Agile Combat Employment [ACE] in the Indo-Pacific.

ACE is crucial in the effort to compete with China, with small USAF units operating from smaller, more agile air bases to enable quicker movements and asset deployment. In recent years, the USAF has been intensifying ACE training with the F-22 fighters as a key component.

The presence of F-22 fighter jets in South Korea is a rare occurrence but has happened before.

F-22

 In February, B-1 Lancer bombers and F-22s flew together with ROKAF F-35s over the Yellow Sea, and in December 2022, F-22 and F-35 ROKAF fighter jets escorted a B-52 bomber in the waters around the Korean Peninsula.

 Most recently, the F-22 fighters also participated in a defense exhibition held in the capital, Seoul, last October, but the fifth-generation fighter jets seldom join military exercises on the Korean Peninsula. — DSA

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