F-35 for Korea
The ceremony of the presentation of first sample fighter-bomber of F-35A for the air force of South Korea was held in March 28, 2018 in the air force base Fort Wort in Texas.
“The F-35A will not only deliver tremendous capability to ROK, it also reinforces our alliance and further strengthens our defense relationship,” Ellen Lord, the U.S. undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, said, using an acronym for the Republic of Korea, the South’s official name. “The U.S.-ROK alliance remains iron clad, and this ceremony is one example of how the unity and cooperation between our two great nations will continue for years to come.”
South Korean Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Seong-Yong Lee said that because the U.S. Air Force operates F-35s in South Korea, the aircraft’s addition to the fleet will “enhance the ROK and USAF interoperability and further strengthen the iron clad ROK-U.S. alliance.”
He added that his forces “need the aircraft to be manufactured on schedule and need our pilots, maintainers and support staff to be trained on time.”
South Korea is one of 11 countries acquiring the F-35, and it plans to acquire 40 F-35As through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program. Earlier it was reported that in total, South Korea can buy 60 aircraft F-35A produced by Lockheed Martin, of which 40 aircraft will be delivered by the South Korean air force by 2021 year. Selling for a total amount of 10.8 billion dollars was approved by the US authorities in 2013. South Korean Air Force pilots and technicians will soon begin training on the aircraft at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. F-35s will begin arriving at the Asian nation’s main operational base at Cheongju, South Korea, in 2019.
All photos- Lockheed Martin