This video shows you that America’s ‘Stealth’ Air Force Vs North Korea: Who Wins?
But air defenses are less of a problem than targeting North Korea’s artillery pieces— which are dug into hardened positions—that are aimed at Seoul. Indeed, even without its nuclear-tipped missiles, dug-in conventional North Korean artillery could leave Seoul devastated within only a few hours. Any successful attack on North Korea would have to eliminate those threats before they could level Seoul—but that is easier said than done.
In the event a war were to break out on the Korean peninsula, American airpower would play a key role.
Initially, the burden would likely fall to the Pentagon’s fleet of stealth aircraft including the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit stealth bomber.
The U.S. Navy, too, would likely have to play a role using its surface warships and submarines to launch waves of Tomahawk cruise missiles to target North Korean air defenses and command and control assets. However, American forces would have to move quickly to take out North Korea’s retaliatory strike capability—both its nuclear forces and its conventional artillery forces that could lay waste to Seoul.
That’s ultimately the problem for American military planners during any potential pre-emptive strike against North Korea. How does one eliminate Pyongyang’s nuclear forces without risking a retaliatory strike that would leave thousands of South Korean and Japanese civilians dead? Indeed, if some of the worst case scenarios play out, North Korea could potentially even strike back at the American homeland with an nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile.
If the Trump administration were to strike at North Korea, stealth aircraft like the F-35 would have to eliminate North Korean air defenses quickly. Pyongyang does not have the most modern of air defense systems—the threat mostly comes from the sheer volume of older Soviet-built systems it has available to it.
However, while the bulk of North Korea’s air defenses are antiques, it does have some potent newer weapons available including its own indigenous KN-06 clone of the Russian S-300. Vasily Kashin, a senior fellow at the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics —who is a specialist on Asian matters—told The National Interest earlier this year that South Koreans sources have written that the KN-06 has been successfully tested. The weapon is thought to have a range of up to 150 km.
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