The first F-35 for Luke AFB arriving on 10 March 2014 (Image © Staff Sgt. Darlene Seltmann / USAF)

South Korea opts for 40 F-35s

The first F-35 for Luke AFB arriving on 10 March 2014 (Image © Staff Sgt. Darlene Seltmann / USAF)
Recently, the USAF traning wing at Luke AFB, AZ, received its first F-35 Lightning II. (Image © Staff Sgt. Darlene Seltmann / USAF)

The Republic of Korea has set aside a budget of 6.79 billion USD for the purchase of 40 F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft, several sources reported on Monday 24 March 2014. The country expects to finalize the order later this year, with first deliveries expected in four years time. Lockheed Martin confirmed South Korea ‘has formally selected the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II’.

The Monday news confirms earlier reports from November last year that South Korea would by 40 F-35s. The Asian country ditched earlier plans to buy 60 newly developed Boeing F-15SE Silent Eagles as replacements for ageing McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantoms. The purchase was halted after fierce criticism from loads of former Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) generals.

The South Korean Ministry of Defence then re-opened the selection process of a new fighter aircraft, with basically only one competitor in mind: the F-35 Lightning II.

© 2014 AIRheads’ Elmer van Hest

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