U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) has deployed over 10 long-range, precision-guided missiles to South Korea, reported South Korean Yonhap news agency.
The deployment of the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM) at Kunsan K-8 Air Base in Gunsan, around 180 kilometers south of Seoul occurred amid rise in tensions with North Korea. The sources confirm that the missiles will be used to arm F-16 fighters assigned to U.S. Air Force (USAF) 8th Fighter Wing deployed at the base.
“To my knowledge, the USFK considers making public a live-fire drill involving the JASSM in case North Korea carries out another strategic provocation, such as a sixth nuclear test,” a source said.
The missile reportedly has an operational range of over 370 kilometers (230 miles) and are capable of hitting Pyongyang even when fired south of the inter-Korean border.
The exact variant of JASSM remains unconfirmed as Lockheed is also producing an extended range variant called JASSM-Extended Range (ER) with an estimated range of over 575 miles (925 km) .
The Lockheed Martin AGM-158 JASSM is a long-range, low observable, air-launched stand-off cruise missile designed to destroy enemy air defenses and high value, well defended, fixed and relocatable targets while keeping aircraft safely out of range from hostile air defense systems. They are equipped with a penetrating blast-fragmentation warhead.