In Response to N. Korean Shells and Toy-Like Drones, S. Korea Dispatches F-15Ks Carrying Cruise Missiles
In the last few days, two low-cost, low-tech drones launched from North Korea crashed on South Korea’s territory. Last week, North Korea fired about 100 shells across the Northern Limit Line. Seoul responded to the provocation by dispatching F-15Ks carrying SLAM-ER missiles.
Although South Korea’s Armed Forces did not attack the North Korean artillery units that had shelled Southern territory (reportedly because the shells did not hit land), the South Korean Air Force’s F-15K Slam Eagles, carrying Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Response (SLAM-ER) missiles were ready to strike Pyongyang's forces.
According to the JoongAng Ilbo, at least one F-15K carrying the hi-tech stand-off missile was scrambled following the attack.
With a range of 270 kilometers (170 miles), a SLAM-ER fired from within South Korea’s airspace can cover the entire territory of North Korea, hitting any designated ground target.
Therefore, had Pyongyang’s shells hit South Korea instead of landing in the water, the South's planes would have been ordered to attack several military units in North Korea, including those units suspected to have shelled the South’s forefront islands.
Military sources told the JoongAng Ilbo that coordinates of the selected targets, including the Supreme Command chaired by Kim Jong Un, had been collected through satellite images, wiretapping, North Korean defectors and good old-fashioned human intelligence.
Obviously, not all targets would be attacked with SLAM-ERs. F-15Ks can carry a wide variety of bombs, including the 5,000-lb “Bunker Buster” GBU-28.
Armed F-15Ks were scrambled several times in the past following violations of the Northern Limit Line or threats by North Korean planes.
Source: By David Cenciotti, The Aviationist News – 3 April 2014
Photo: An artist's rendering of the launch of a Taurus KEPD 350 cruise missile from a Boeing F-15SE. Boeing officials have said the company's F-15E Strike Eagle production line will remain open through to 2020 if South Korea chooses the F-15SE, or Silent Eagle, variant for its FX-III requirement for 60 new combat aircraft. Meanwhile, Seoul has selected Taurus Systems' Taurus KEPD 350 cruise missile to fulfill the standoff requirement for the Republic of Korea Air Force's (RoKAF's) existing F-15K Slam Eagles, according to an official familiar with the decision. Photo by Boeing)