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ROK-U.S. Air Force conduct annual KFT training at Kunsan AB

  • Published
  • 7th Air Force Public Affairs

U.S. Seventh Air Force personnel and aircraft will train with the Republic of Korea Air Force in the annual Korea Flying Training (KFT) event hosted at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, April 12-26, 2024.

The exercise is part of an annual training schedule designed to further strengthen flying interoperability and sharpen the combined readiness of the ROK and U.S. air and joint forces through face-to-face combined mission planning, flying execution, and debriefing. The event will highlight the ROK-U.S. Alliance by demonstrating lethality in the air domain, and enhancing their ability to deter, defend, and defeat any adversary.

“KFT is a critical training event due to the sheer size of the exercise, the amount of aircraft and people involved from across the joint and allied forces, and the complexity of the training,” said U.S. AF Col. Charles G. Cameron, 7th AF Director of Operations and Plans. “This exercise provides the most realistic opportunity for our forces to rehearse tactics through difficult training scenarios while learning from each other to strengthen our defensive posture in the region.”

“The ROK and U.S. air forces are working together to ensure our combined readiness to defend against any threat to the ROK-U.S. Alliance. Through this training, we are strengthening the alliance’s defense posture with ‘fight tonight’ readiness,” said ROKAF Lt. Gen. Kim, Hyoung-Soo, Air Force Operations Command commander.

U.S. and ROK military personnel from the ROKAF, USAF, U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and approximately 25 different types of aircraft from various joint units, to include U.S. Special Operations Command Korea, plan to participate in the exercise. U.S. aircraft scheduled to participate include the F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-35B Lightning II, A-10 Thunderbolt II, E-3 Sentry, U-2 Dragon Lady, MQ-9 Reaper, MQ-1C Grey Eagle, KC-135 Stratotanker, C-17 Globemaster III, and C-130J Super Hercules coming from locations both on and off the Korean peninsula. ROKAF aircraft scheduled to participated include the F-35A, F-15K, F-16, FA-50, C-130, CN-235 and KC-330.

With the increase in size for the 2024 iteration of the annual event, key focuses of the exercise will include integrating U.S. and ROK fifth generation assets among the combined forces, enhancing combined precision strike capabilities, rehearsing combat search and rescue scenarios, practicing mass paratrooper airdrops, and training mission commanders and aircrew to fly, flight and win in scenarios with robust surface-to-air and air-to-air threats.

Additionally, the exercise will test the 7th AF’s ability to bed-down, sustain, and redeploy joint forces, ultimately supporting an agile combat employment scheme of maneuver by reinforcing their capacity to operate from locations with varying levels of capacity and support, ensuring Airmen and aircrews are postured to respond to protect and defend the U.S., allies and partner interests at a moment’s notice.

“KFT tests our ability to accept follow-on forces and rapidly redeploy to multiple locations; that flexibility provides a significant advantage to the ROK and U.S. Alliance,” Cameron said. “Our ability to train together at this scope enhances interoperability and enables our forces to be ready for any potential situations.”

Combined training and exercises such as KFT are defensive in nature and intended to prepare for combat, ensuring we are ready to “fight tonight.” It ensures peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and demonstrates our combined commitment to the defense of the ROK against any threat or adversary.

Korea Flying Training is the largest flying training event held on the Korean Peninsula.