U.S. Conducts Precision Bomb Drill Amid Rising North Korea Tensions

A US long-range B-1B bomber flew over the Korean Peninsula last Wednesday as part of the first joint precision-guided bombing exercises with South Korea in seven years.

The joint exercises involved several advanced fighter jets from the US and South Korea, including the B-1B bomber, the second US bomber to fly over the Korean Peninsula in 2024.

According to South Korea’s Defense Ministry, the exercises were aimed at demonstrating the United States’ security commitment to the South while strengthening the two countries’ joint defense posture.

As part of the training, the B-1B dropped Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) under escort by South Korean fighter jets.

All US bombers, fighter jets, and unmanned drones are capable of using JDAMs, which include so-called “bunker-buster” bombs. The JDAM guidance system is capable of converting unguided, conventional bombs into GPS-guided more precise weapons.

North Korea, with its complex web of underground structures and military tunnels, is especially sensitive to joint military exercises featuring JDAM bombs like bunker-busters.

Pyongyang previously condemned the use of B-1B bombers over the Korean Peninsula, describing the deployment of a bomber capable of carrying large weapons payloads as proof of Washington’s hostility.

On previous occasions, North Korea responded to B-1B drills with South Korea by test-firing missiles.

With the suspension of the 2018 inter-Korean deal, South Korea resumed military activities including joint live-fire drills and blasting anti-Pyongyang propaganda over loudspeakers near the border with the North.

Actions by South Korea usually prompt the North to take similar provocative steps.

North Korea recently attempted to launch a second spy satellite into orbit despite UN resolutions. However, the rocket carrying the satellite exploded after liftoff.

The North began accelerating its missile testing in 2022 after nuclear disarmament negotiations with Washington broke down in 2019.