US military unveils Ghostrider in S. Korea

Jun 25, 2024, 10:19 am

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The AC-130J Ghostrider has been showcased at Osan Air Base in S. Korea on June 24, 2024./ Photographed by Ji Hwan-hyuk

AsiaToday reporter Ji Hwan-hyuk 

The U.S. military has unveiled strategic and quasi-strategic assets such as the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt and the AC-130J aircraft Ghostrider on the Korean Peninsula, sending a strong warning to North Korea. 

The move can be seen as the U.S.’ advanced policy of “permanent and ironclad extended deterrence commitment to South Korea, in response to deepening military cooperation between North Korea and Russia following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent visit to North Korea.

The U.S. Forces Korea on Monday held a special press conference at the Osan Air Base in the city of Pyeongtaek, unveiling the AC-130J aircraft also known as the Ghostrider. 

The heavily armed aircraft, assigned to the 4th Special Operations Squadron from Hulburt Field in Florida, was deployed to the Korean Peninsula on June 12. It marks the gunship’s second-ever deployment to South Korea. It took part in the joint military exercise named Teak Knife in March last year, which is a decapitation exercise. The AC-130J will continue its training until the end of this month, including participating in the joint air exercise from July 17 to 20.

“We’ve not forgotten our commitment to the ironclad alliance to defend our homelands, a commitment born out of the blood and 70 years of working together to ensure a safe and peaceful peninsula,” Brig. Gen. Derek Lipson, commander of the Special Operations Command Korea (SOCKOR), told the press conference. “Since then, we’ve steadfastly maintained a deterrence posture with a credible special operations force.”

South Korae, the U.S. and Japan are expected to hold their first-ever trilateral multidomain exercise, dubbed the Freedom Edge, across various domains, including air, maritime, underwater and cyber, this week.

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