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Korean Airpower on Centre Stage

The nation’s armed forces continue to add new generation platforms, substantially enhancing their combat power. Seoul ADEX 2019 marks the first show appearance of Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) F-35A, a full scale KF-X mockup by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and the ROK Army’s new Light Attack Helicopter (LAH).

The Republic of Korea (ROK), today, has a strong indigenous defence industry, which is bagging export contracts with increasing frequency. The ROK’s strong defence market and growing export clout, is a major reason for the growth of Seoul ADEX, which has more than 400 companies from across 35 countries taking part this year.

The ROKAF continues to receive more F-35As, deliveries of which commenced earlier this year. The air force is slated to end the year with a fleet of 10 F-35As. The remaining 30 aircraft on order are due for delivery by 2021. An additional 20 aircraft buy is also said to be in the pipeline. The induction of the F-35s, also marks the end of the road for legacy F-4 Phantoms which will be phased out of service.

The ROKAF will end the year with a total of three A330 Multi Role Tanker Transports (MRTT) which receive the designation ‘KC-330 Cygnus’. “The introduction of aerial refuelling tanker planes has enabled the Air Force to improve its operational capabilities at long distances, resulting in more effective implementation of operations in the Korean Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ) such as Dokdo and Ieodo island,” an Air Force spokesperson says.

The KC-330 fleet will be fully operational by July 2020. The ROKAF’s KC-330s are operated by the 5th Air Mobility Wing (5th Wing).

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