An evaluation team from the South Korean Air Force will test Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II before signing a deal to purchase 40 of the stealth aircraft for its "next-generation" fighter jet, the nation's procurement agency said Sunday.
"The 10-man team will visit the company's plant in Fort Worth, Texas Monday for two weeks of tests," said an official of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA). "We will mainly check to see if anything has changed since the 2012 test."
However, as in 2012, they will not be able to fly the stealth jet because they have not gained approval from the U.S. government and instead, the test will be carried out by a simulator (a sim-flight), while a Korean pilot will follow an actual F-35 test-flight in a chase plane, according to the Korean Times.
"As the F-35 is a single-seat aircraft, a pilot needs to take a six-month course to fly it alone," the official said.
He added that there will be a runway test at the plant as well. Korea decided to buy the "fifth-generation" low-observable aircraft in November to replace its aging F-4s and F-5s in its fighter requirement program, better known as the "F-X III competition."