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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