South Korea Agrees to Purchase 40 F-35 Stealth Fighters

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South Korea will ink a deal this month to purchase 40 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets for about 7.34 trillion won ($7.06 billion) with incremental delivery slated for 2018-2021.

This makes South Korea the 10th country to choose the F-35 as the nation looks to replace its aging fighters and to compliment its F-15K Slam Eagle warplanes.

“We have agreed to acquire 40 jets within the total budget and reflect all the terms negotiated during the 2013 competition,” South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration said in a statement on Wednesday.

Lockheed said deliveries of the South Korean F-35s will begin in 2018, when the first South Korean pilots will start training at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.

South Korea had originally planned to spend as much as 8.3 trillion won to buy 60 jets, but reduced the order to 40 jets last year after dropping an option to buy more F-15s in favor of the F-35 with its stealth capabilities.


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