South Korea Formally Announces Intent to Buy 40 Lockheed Fighter Jets

The New York Times // September 24, 2014

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea formally announced on Wednesday that it would buy 40 F-35A fighter jets from the American defense contractor Lockheed Martin in a deal that includes transfers of technology for the development of the country’s own advanced fighter jet.

South Korea picked Lockheed Martin’s F-35A as the sole choice for its airforce’s new fighter jet in November and has since been negotiating the terms of the deal. On Wednesday, Defense Minister Han Min-koo called a meeting of top military procurement officials to approve the purchase, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration said in a news release.

South Korea was expected to pay 120 billion won, or $115 million, per aircraft, and has set aside a total of $7 billion for its so-called FX-III project of upgrading to fighter jets with radar-evading stealth capabilities, the South Korean news media reported, citing anonymous government sources. South Korea hopes to deploy the F-35A between 2018 and 2021.

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Photo by Lockheed Martin.