Tuesday, November 30, 2010

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: South Korea, U.S. To Hold Maritime Interdiction, Aerial Interception Drills

Defense War News Updates: DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: South Korea, U.S. To Hold Maritime Interdiction, Aerial Interception Drills
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources Yonhap News
(NSI News Source Info) SEOUL, South Korea - November 30, 2010: South Korea and the United States plan to stage maritime interdiction and aerial interception drills Tuesday on the third day of major naval exercises in the Yellow Sea aimed at warning North Korea against any future provocations, military officials here said.

About 10 warships, including a nuclear-powered U.S. supercarrier, scores of aircraft and 7,300 military personnel, launched the four-day maneuvers Sunday in response to North Korea's bombardment on a South Korean island near the tense Yellow Sea border, killing two marines and as many civilians.

"Today, we plan to hold maritime interdiction and defensive counter air drills as a key part of the third-day exercises," said an official at the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

A mock aerial interception of warplanes will be conducted using radar systems from Aegis destroyers and aircraft from the allies, the JCS official said on the condition of anonymity.

"In particular, the maritime interdiction drill will be carried out, based on a scenario that North Korean patrol ships violated the Yellow Sea border," the JCS official said.

Military tensions on the Korean Peninsula have spiked since the North attacked Yeonpyeong Island on Nov. 23, marking the first attack that targeted civilians on land since the 1950-53 Korean War. At least 18 people, mostly marines, were injured in the attack that set scores of homes and military facilities ablaze.

One day after the North's attack, South Korea and the U.S. announced the drills, which were planned as a warning after North Korea torpedoed a South Korean warship, the Cheonan, in March. Forty-six sailors were killed by the torpedo attack near the Yellow Sea border.

North Korea justified its artillery strike on Yeonpyeong as a "self-defensive measure" against a South Korean military exercise near the island, the usual logic its regime has used as an excuse for past shellings into the waters across the maritime border.

In the joint naval drills, the 97,000-ton USS George Washington, which carries more than 6,000 sailors and 75 fighter jets, is supported by a number of U.S. warships, including the 9,600-ton USS Cowpens, the USS Lassen, the USS Stethem and the USS Fitzgerald.

South Korea has deployed a 7,600-ton guided-missile Aegis destroyer, the Sejong the Great, along with two 4,500-ton destroyers, frigates and anti-submarine aircraft, according to JCS officials.

Also taking part in the drills are eight F-16C Fighting Falcons, four A-10C Thunderbolt II, four F-15Ks and four KF-16s.

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