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F-15K pilot named Air Force's Top Gun

A pilot flying the F-15K fighter jet has been tapped as the South Korean Air Force's Top Gun this year by displaying stellar performance at the air-to-ground strike competition during the annual aerial shooting championships.

Maj. Kim Hak-seon, 36, accumulated 995 out of 1,000 points in the 2016 Boramae Air Shooting Competition held from Oct. 4-19, the Air Force said in a statement.

Top Gun is one of the most coveted titles in the country's Air Force and a mark of excellence.  

Maj. Kim Hak-seon, the Top Gun (Yonhap)
Maj. Kim Hak-seon, the Top Gun (Yonhap)

"If a real conflict breaks out, I will never draw back and do my utmost to beat the enemy without fail," he said in the statement.

He edged past others in hitting a target with a diameter of less than 4 meters placed on the ground while his jet was flying at an altitude of around 6 kilometers. He also distinguished himself in infiltrating enemy airspace to drop bombs while also responding quickly to an enemy fighter, the Air Force said.

The pilot attended the competition after achieving more than 1,800 flight hours, of which 1,300 were on the F-15K, it said.

He plans to donate the prize money of 1.5 million won ($1,300) to an Air Force foundation set up to help bereaved children with a parent that died for the country as a military pilot. (Yonhap)