US orders 24 jets and 12,000 troops to largest-ever air exercise with S. Korea

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor takes off from a South Korean air base in Gwangju, South Korea, Monday, Dec. 4, 2017. The United States and South Korea have started their biggest-ever joint air force exercise with hundreds of aircrafts including two dozen stealth jets. (Yonhap via AP)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – The United States and South Korea have started their biggest-ever joint air force exercise with hundreds of aircraft including two dozen stealth jets.

South Korea’s defense ministry said Monday the five-day drill called Vigilant Ace will improve their capabilities in wartime.

The U.S. 7th Air Force deployed major strategic military assets including six F-22 and 18 F-35 stealth fighter jets for the regular exercise in the Korean Peninsula. About 12,000 U.S. military personnel are participating.

It takes places a week after North Korea test-launched its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile that puts most of the U.S. within range.

On Sunday, Senator Lindsey Graham said it is time for U.S. military families in South Korea to leave the country because the conflict with North Korea is getting close.

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