On Mar. 24, 2022, North Korea test-launched the new Hwasongpho-17 intercontinental ballistic missile. The launch was carried out at the Pyongyang International Airport.
The ICBM was test-fired vertically, from a Transporter Erector Launcher and flew 1,090 kilometers for 4,052 seconds reaching the highest altitude of 6,248.5 kilometers before “correctly hitting the target in the set waters over the East Sea of Korea”.
As a consequence of North Korea’s show of force, the South has also flexed its muscles, putting its most advanced aircraft, the F-35A in the parade.
An Elephant Walk that included 28 out of 40 F-35A the ROKAF has received was widely advertised across the social networks with the slogan “Invisible power to protect South Korea” to show that South Korea’s military “will use the F-35A with all-weather stealth and precision strike capabilities to achieve overwhelming strategic victories and maintain a full military posture that will deter further North Korea’s actions”.
Defense Minister Suh Wook oversaw the “Elephant Walk” training and ordered troops to maintain “full” readiness based on the “invisible power” of the F-35As, the defense ministry said. It did not disclose the training site for security reasons.
The training marked the first major mobilization of the stealth fighters after the Air Force completed the deployment of 40 F-35As in January.
“Using the F-35A stealth fighters, we should maintain a full readiness posture to achieve an overwhelming strategic victory (in any fight) and deter North Korea’s additional actions,” Suh was quoted as saying.
During the training, heavily-armed F-35A fighters taxied in a large formation along an airfield to check their operational readiness, officials said.