South Korea’s F-16 fighter jets will be upgraded with GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and AIM-120 mid-range air-to-air missiles, capable of hitting North Korea's underground targets and downing combat jets.
JDAM can hit underground military facilities and neutralize the North Korean leadership in the event of an emergency, and AIM-120 missiles have a range of 50 to 180 kilometers that can shoot down combat jets at long range, Yonhap reports.
The need for the upgrade has been raised as existing electronic equipment on planes has been halted and precision weapons such as guided bombs cannot be installed in the original models, report said.
"The upgraded F-16 PBUs will have the same capability of the KF-16 jets and will operate as the main combat planes charged with defending South Korea's air," an Air Force official was quoted as saying. The official said that Seoul will continue to make efforts to enhance its KF-16 fleet's combat readiness by installing advanced equipment including active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars.
The F-16 Peace Bridge Upgrade (PBU) project is part of the Air Force's efforts to enhance the overall capability of its frontline jets.