The five-day military exercise is taking place between US and South Korean forces as World War 3 tensions are upped another gear.
South Korea’s defence ministry said: “It’s aimed at enhancing the all-weather, day and night combined air power operation capabilities of South Korea and the US.”
The US Seventh Air Force added: “The realistic air combat exercise is designed to enhance interoperability between US and Republic of Korea forces, and increase the combat effectiveness of both nations.”
The drills were planned in advance and are not taking place as a response to Kim Jong-un’s latest threatening missile test.
The vast number of soldiers and resources involved in the drills make them the second largest ever between the US and South Korea.
Six F-22 Raptors, six F-35As, two B-1B Lancer bombers, six EA-18G Growler jets, F-15C and F-16 jets are all taking part in the joint military exercise.
South Korea has also dispatched F-15K, KF-16, FA-50 and F-5 fighters.
The exercises involve simulating strikes on North Korean targets as well as other drills surrounding wartime scenarios.
North Korea earlier this week said America was “begging for nuclear war” by holding the war games with South Korea on Kim Jong-un’s doorstep.
North Korea claimed the exercise is preparation for an invasion, claiming it is also highly provocative and worthy of a fiery response.
The Vigilant Ace drills will take place until December 8. It will see US and South Korean forces flying over eight air bases across the peninsula.
US military leaders said the drills were “regular” and not a direct threat to Kim Jong-un’s hermit state.
A spokesman for the US military said: “Vigilant Ace 18 highlights the longstanding military partnership, commitment and enduring friendship between two nations.
“It is designed to ensure peace and security on the Korean Peninsula, and reaffirms the US commitment to stability in the Northeast Asia region.”
But Kim himself has condemned the drills, describing them as an “extremely dangerous nuclear gamble”.
The rogue state’s foreign ministry said: “The Trump team is begging for nuclear war by staging an extremely dangerous nuclear gamble on the Korean peninsula.
“The facts above evidently show who is the real nuclear war maniac and the ‘nuclear demon’ that disrupts and destroys peace on the Korean peninsula and the world.
“Should the Korean peninsula and the world be embroiled in the crucible of nuclear war because of the reckless nuclear war mania of the US, the US will have to accept full responsibility for it.