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US, S Korea to hold large-scale maritime drill

A file photo.

WASHINGTON/SEOUL (BNS): The marine troops of US and South Korea will launch their largest-ever joint amphibious landing training exercise later this month involving over 10,000 troops.

The "Ssang Yong" (Double Dragon) exercise will be held on the Korean Peninsula from March 27 to April 7, the Yonhap news agency said quoting a Pentagon statement.

The naval drill will involve about 7,500 US Marines, belonging to the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, based in Okinawa, Japan, and 2,000 US Navy personnel.

The Korean side will participate with 3,500 Marines and 1,000 Navy sailors.

They will also be joined by 130 Australian Army troops and "quite a few" V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft stationed in Okinawa, a Pentagon spokesman said.

The Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey is a multi-mission military jet with vertical takeoff and landing capability.

"The scale of this year's Ssang Yong is greater than any other in the past, proving the Navy and Marine Corps' ability to conduct the full spectrum of a combined arms, amphibious landing operations in cooperation with our international partners," the Pentagon official said.

A total of 12 South Korean and US Navy amphibious ships also plan to participate in the drills to take place as part of the "Foal Eagle" exercise between the allies, Yonhap said.

The two sides had launched the annual "Foal Eagle" drill on Feb. 24.


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