The United States has so far delivered 24 F-35A stealth jets to the South Korean military, Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said today.
"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," DAPA noted in a parliamentary audit report.
The agreement for 40 F-35As valued $6.4 billion was signed in 2014. The new jets were inducted to service on October 1 last year on the occasion of Armed Forces Day. Seoul will complete the construction of facilities to store the jets by December this year.
The country is planning to add 20 more F-35 jets to its fleet in a $3.3 billion purchase. 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, DAPA said in a report to the National Assembly on October 7, 2019.