South Korea's heavy attack Apache helicopters conducted a live-fire exercise with Hellfire missiles introduced for precision strikes at a shooting range off the southwestern port city of Gunsan.
The drill involved eight Apache (AH-64E) helicopters which fired one Hellfire air-to-ground missile each, the Defense Ministry said. This is the first live-fire missile exercise since South Korea deployed 36 AH-64E helicopters in January.
With a range of eight kilometers (five miles), the missile has been used widely by U.S. troops. One Apache chopper carries up to 16 Hellfire missiles. An American infantry division stationed in South Korea has two Apache battalions with 48 AH-64Ds.
South Korea has disclosed plans to form a special army brigade aimed at decapitating North Korea's leadership. The brigade would carry out its contingency mission to "decapitate" North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and other top commanders in charge of nuclear weapons.
Military officials say Apache helicopters will be mobilized for anti-tank and various other missions.
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