North Korea fires shells, launches toy-like drones; South Korea responds with F-15K 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 North Korean artillery units that had shelled Southern territory (reportedly because the shells did not fall onto Seoul’s land), South Korean air force’s F-15K Slam Eagles, carrying SLAM-ER (Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Response) missiles were ready to strike Pyongyang forces.

According to the JoongAng Ilbo, at least an F-15K carrying the hi-tech, 1.8 million USD 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 the Pyongyang’s shells hit South Korea instead of landing in the water, ROKAF planes would have been ordered to attack several military commands in North Korea, including those units suspected to have shelled 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 HUMINT.

Obviously, not all targets would be attacked with SLAM-ER: F-15Ks (that have recently taken part in Red Flag exercises in both Nellis Air Force Base and Alaska), can carry a wide variety of bombs, including the 5,000-lb “Bunker Buster” GBU-28.

Armed F-15K were scrambled several times in the past following violation of the Northern Limit Line or threats by North Korean planes.



Image credit: ROKAF, Boeing


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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.