Nighthawks deploy for routine rotation
January 12, 2007
PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — The U.S. military again is deploying a squadron of F-117 stealth fighter jets and airmen to South Korea for what it termed a “routine deployment,” a U.S. Forces Korea spokesman said Wednesday night.
The deployment “is a routine rotation of the Air Expeditionary Force,” said spokesman David Oten.
About 300 airmen will make the deployment with 15 to 25 F-117A “Nighthawks” from the 9th Fighter Squadron at Hollomon Air Force Base, N.M., he said.
“We’re not releasing the time of arrival due to operational security considerations,” Oten said.
The F-117A is a single-seat attack aircraft used widely during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Its advanced design characteristics make it difficult for radar to detect.
It can penetrate deep into enemy air space and can launch satellite- and laser-guided munitions.
“This is the fourth time they’ve deployed to Korea since 2003,” Oten said of the Hollomon-based Nighthawks.
Their most recent stint on the peninsula was in June 2005, when 250 people and 15 aircraft arrived, he said.
Besides that 2005 deployment, the Pentagon in summer 2004 also deployed a Nighthawk squadron to Kunsan.
And in 2003, Nighthawks took part in a major annual military exercise in South Korea, then remained on the peninsula for what USFK termed “additional training.”