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USS Carl Vinson to arrive at South Korea for joint drills

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Published : 2017-03-14 18:42
Updated : 2017-03-14 18:42

The US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson is to arrive at South Korea on Wednesday to participate in the allies’ annual military exercise as an extended deterrence measure against North Korea’s missile and nuclear threats, the US military said Tuesday.

USS Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group, including its flagship Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, Carrier Air Wing 2 and USS Wayne E. Meyer destroyer, will make a port call at a naval base in Busan, according to US Naval Forces Korea.
 
USS Carl Vinson (Yonhap)

Commissioned in 1982, Carl Vinson carries some 90 helicopters and fixed wing aircrafts, including F/A-18 Super Hornet fighters, E-2C Hawkeye early warning aircraft, EA-18G Growler electric warfare planes and SH-60 Seahawk helicopters.

“The USS Carl Vinson’s presence is another tangible example of how the ROK-US Alliance continues to enhance interoperability and key capabilities to ensure security and stability,” Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commander of United States Forces Korea, said.

South Korea and the US launched computer-based Key Resolve drills on Monday, which has reportedly included war scenarios where the US special warfare units remove North Korea’s leadership and its advanced missile defense system shoots down North Korea’s ballistic missiles.

Earlier in the day, South Korea’s acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn and Defense Minister Han Min-koo paid a visit to the allies’ command posts for the Key Resolve exercise, which will run through March 28.

“We must maintain robust military posture to deter North Korea from conducting reckless provocations,” said Hwang at South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, which worked with US-led Combined Forces Command to lead the annual military drill.

Faced with North Korea’s military threat, South Korea, the US and Japan on Tuesday began a missile warning drill to enhance trilateral cooperation in detecting and tracing ballistic missiles launched from Pyongyang, which test-fired a new intermediate-range ballistic missile, the Pukguksong 2, last month.

During the three-day simulation exercise, three Aegis-equipped destroyers -- Sejongdaewang from South Korea, Curtis Wilbur from the US and Kirishima from Japan – will detect and trace a mock hostile target in the water between South Korea and Japan, according to South Korea’s Navy.

South Korea’s Army conducted a special warfare exercise to defend against a scenario where North Korea’s special warfare unit has infiltrated from the rear of South Korea. Led by the Army’s Second Operation Command, the drill involved 200 special warfare personnel and 18 choppers, including the CH-47 Chinook.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon confirmed a report that the US military will begin permanent deployment of Gray Eagle aircraft in 2018 to its air base in Gunsan. The unmanned attack planes will be assigned to the 2nd aviation brigade under the 2nd Infantry Division.

“US Army, after coordination with the Republic of Korea Armed Forces and the US Air Force, is beginning the process to permanently station a Gray Eagle unmanned aerial systems company at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea,” spokesperson Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters.

By Yeo Jun-suk (jasonyeo@heraldcorp.com)