South Korea is planning to add 20 more F-35 jets to its fleet of fighter planes with a $3.3 billion purchase, the country’s arms procurement agency has announced.
The government is preparing to launch the second phase of acquiring the F-X III (F-35) in 2021, for the five years to come. About $3.3 billion will go toward buying the additional Lockheed Martin-made aircraft, Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said in a report to the National Assembly on 7 October, Defense News reported Thursday.
“The state-funded Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, or KIDA, has concluded a study on the additional acquisition of F-35 aircraft, and the study is to suggest the introduction of more F-35As be more feasible,” a source at the Ministry of National Defense told Defense News on the condition of anonymity.
According to reports in the local media, training of South Korean F-35 pilots and maintenance technicians; and the construction of facilities and relevant systems are currently being carried out.
Seoul has so far received 8 F-35A planes out of the ordered 40. The agreement for 40 aircraft valued $6.4 billion was signed in 2014. The new jets were inducted to service on October 1 on the occasion of Armed Forces Day.
According to the South Korean Air Force, a total of 26 more F-35A planes will arrive in the country by the end of next year.