The UK’s Historic Deployment to Korea

In coordination with USAF and the Republic of Korea Air Force, Britain’s Royal Air Force sent its largest deployment to Korea since the 1950s this month to participate in joint exercise Invincible Shield, according to a press release. The exercise follows a series of provocative actions taken by North Korea this year, including the successful detonation of two nuclear warheads and several attempts to launch ballistic missiles, most recently on Oct. 21. The exercise had been planned before the most recent of these events, however, and UK Ambassador to the ROK, Charles Hay, said the training was “part of our big-picture strategy” in the region and not a response to particular North Korean aggressions, according to the Korea Times. Pyongyang denounced the exercise, calling the RAF’s deployment “an invasive action,” the Times reported. Aircraft participating in Invincible Shield include RAF Eurofighter Typhoon FRG4s, USAF F-16 Fighting Falcons and A10 Thunderbolt IIs, and ROKAF F-16s and F-15 Slam Eagles. The training continues until Nov. 10, when the deployment of RAF forces will end. (See also Keeping Peace in Korea from the November issue of Air Force Magazine.)