With the UK dropping any plans for a mixed Lightning fleet, the US so far will be the sole country with more than one version in service. Here the first F-35C (CF-6) reporting to the US Navy, here at Eglin AFB. (Image © Lockheed Martin)

Reuters: “South Korea buys 40 F-35s”

With the UK dropping any plans for a mixed Lightning fleet, the US so far will be the sole country with more than one version in service. Here the first F-35C (CF-6) reporting to the US Navy, here at Eglin AFB. (Image © Lockheed Martin)
A Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, here the C-version of the US Navy at Eglin AFB. (Image © Lockheed Martin)

International press agency Reuters reports that South Korea will order 40 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II after 22 November 2013 when the Joint Chiefs have a meeting, basing the information on “two sources familiar with the competition”.

According to sources that Reuters spoke to the chiefs want to hold options on another 20 F-35s and start with the purchase of six of the fighter type to introduce into service in 2017.

If true the South Korean move must be a huge disappointment for Boeing, which was still hoping to sell up to two dozen of its F-15SE. Initially Boeing actually won the order for 60 of these Silent Eagles, but this purchase plan was largely based on a low budget and received a wave of criticism of all retired Republic of Korea Air Force brass. The remarks were firmly noted by South Korean president Park Geun-hye who re-opened the tender for a new fighter jet on 25 September 2013.

© 2013 AIRheads’ Marcel Burger

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