Report: U.S. Air Force drills targeted North Korea

A U.S. Air Force exercise for a possible “raid” on the North Korean leadership may have been conducted in southwest Missouri.

The U.S. Air Force may have conducted a drill targeting North Korea involving B-52 bombers in October. File Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force
The U.S. Air Force may have conducted a drill targeting North Korea involving B-52 bombers in October. File Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force

The drills included the deployment of B-2 and B-52 bombers, E-3 Sentry Airborne Early Warning aircraft supported by KC-10 and KC-135 tankers simulating airstrikes “all over Missouri,” The Aviationist reported Tuesday.

The drills were likely conducted to deter North Korea, according to listeners “in the area” who heard unencrypted communication over military air band.

U.S. military personnel “didn’t employ any encryption [so] that I could hear…the whole exercise was broadcast for the world to hear in plain old analog UHF AM,” one Aviationist reader wrote.

“The most interesting part was when they radioed ‘a command post possible [North Korea] leadership relocation site’ but when this was said I had not started recording it yet,” the reader added.

The radio communications took place on Oct. 17, according to the reader, when he and his wife were “sitting outside by a fire enjoying the evening.”

The reader added the next day, U.S. aircraft began “dropping bombs on targets with tasking from MOJO and Wolverine,” and noted it was “weird” radio communication included a clear reference to a North Korea target.

“Real ops are always conducted with a strict radio discipline, so that no detail is leaked to the ‘enemy’,” the reader added.

The exercises were conducted around the same time analysts in South Korea suggested the United States could be arriving at the conclusion denuclearization would be difficult to achieve, unless the North Korean leader is removed, South Korean newspaper Segye Ilbo reported in October.

Woo Jung-yeop, a researcher at the Sejong Institute, said the view is carrying weight in Washington.

The other option is to leave Kim alone and focus on a “full containment policy.”

The United States has implemented its toughest sanctions against Pyongyang, following North Korea’s sixth nuclear test in September.

By Elizabeth Shim