Saturday, April 20, 2024

South Korean Air Force showcases its growing combat strength

The South Korean Air Force recently conducted an impressive “elephant walk” involving 33 aircraft, including F-35A stealth fighters, KF-16s, F-15Ks, and F-4Es.

This demonstration at the Suwon air base coincided with the annual Freedom Shield exercise, reinforcing deterrence against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats.

The term “elephant walk” harks back to World War II, when large fleets of allied bombers would assemble for missions containing up to 1,000 aircraft. It signifies a coordinated display of military might and preparedness.


Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Lee Young-su emphasized the need for the Air Force to inspire confidence in the public and deter potential adversaries. The “Elephant Walk” showcased the Air Force’s readiness to respond decisively to any provocations.

During the training, the fully equipped jets taxied in formation, simulating pre-takeoff procedures and confirming operational readiness. North Korea’s recent calls for combat mobilization highlight the ongoing tensions in the region, with Pyongyang often viewing joint South Korea-U.S. drills as provocations.

The F-4E Phantoms, leading the formation, are set to retire in June after decades of service.

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Executive Editor

About author:

Gu Min Chul
Gu Min Chul
Gu Min Chul is a defense reporter who covers the Korean defense industry and all related issues.