Two US bombers escorted by South Korean F-15K Slam Eagles on Wednesday conducted the second show of force in Korea since the North conducted its fifth nuclear test on Sept. 9, flying closer to the demilitarized zone than any other B-1 in history, according to a US Forces Korea release. Following the flyby, the supersonic B-1B strategic bomber from Andersen AFB, Guam, landed at Osan AB, South Korea, which is about 40 miles south of the DMZ. “The bond between the United States and the Republic of Korea is ironclad and the strength of that commitment will not be shaken by North Korea’s aggressive behavior,” said Lt. Gen. Thomas Bergeson, 7th Air Force commander. “What we are showing today is just one tool we have to choose from a wide array of options. The alliance grows stronger every day and we remain prepared to defend and to preserve the security of the Korean Peninsula and the region.” The move comes one week after two B-1Bs operating out of Andersen, escorted by US F-16 Fighting Falcons and South Korean F-15Ks, conducted a low-level flight over South Korea.
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.