South Korea displayed its newly purchased US-made F-35 stealth fighter jets to the general public for the first time at the ongoing ADEX2021 since the aircraft was first delivered to the country’s Air Force unit in 2019. During the 2019 show, a mock-up of the stealth fighter was on display. The United States, as of last October, has delivered 24 F-35A stealth jets to the South Korean military. Under its biggest-ever weapons purchase, South Korea is to buy 40 F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin. In December 2019 the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) had declared initial operating capability (IOC) for its expanding fleet of the F-35A Lightning II fifth-generation stealth fighters.
“We experienced some delay in the delivery due to the COVID-19 situation, but through South Korea-U.S. coordination, the delivery has been normalized as planned,” Defence Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) noted in a parliamentary audit report.
The agreement for 40 F-35As valued $6.4 billion was signed in 2014. Seoul is currently completing the construction of facilities to store the fighters. The Republic of Korea (ROK) faces a complex threat environment and the stealth F-35A provides the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) an enhanced capability to protect safety and security, an official at Lockheed Martin, makers of the aircraft, said. The country is also planning to add 20 more F-35 aircraft to its fleet in a US$3.3 billion purchase. The government is also preparing to launch the second phase of acquiring the F-X III (F-35).
The F-35A is the U.S. Air Force’s latest fifth-generation fighter. With its aerodynamic performance and advanced integrated avionics, the F-35A will provide next-generation stealth, enhanced situational awareness, and reduced vulnerability for the United States and allied nations. According to Lockheed Martin, the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) F-35A gives the Air Force the power to dominate the skies – anytime, anywhere. The F-35A is an agile, versatile, high-performance, 9G capable multirole fighter that combines stealth, sensor fusion and unprecedented situational awareness. Because logistics support accounts for two-thirds of an aircraft’s life cycle cost, the F-35 is designed to achieve unprecedented levels of reliability and maintainability, combined with a highly responsive support and training system linked with the latest in information technology, it said.
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