Seoul, May 6 : South Korea and the US will begin their largest-ever combined live-fire exercise this month on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of their alliance and the 75th anniversary of the South Korean military’s establishment, Seoul’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday.
The allies are set to stage the drills five times between May 25 and June 15 at Seungjin Fire Training Field in Pocheon, 52 kilometre northeast of Seoul, according to the Ministry.
This year’s drills will be the largest ever of their kind, and the exercise is expected to involve advanced weapons systems, including F-35A stealth fighters, AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, K2 tanks and Chunmoo multiple rocket launchers.
More than 10 such high-profile firepower demonstrations have taken place since 1977, including both combined and South Korea-only drills, Xinhua news agency reported.
The last such exercise took place in 2017 and mobilised 48 South Korean and US units and more than 2,000 troops.
As part of a programme to celebrate the landmark anniversary, South Korea is also seeking to hold this year’s Armed Forces Day ceremony with the participation of the US Forces Korea in late September.
The South and the US signed their mutual defence treaty, a bedrock alliance document, in October 1953, after the Korean War ended in a truce three months earlier.