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South Korea to get 20 more F-35s

South Korea plans to purchase 20 more F-35 fighter planes from the United States, its arms procurement agency announced.

South Korea to get 20 more F 35s The first F-35A for the ROKAF, known as aircraft AW-1, makes its public debut in late March 2018 (Picture source: Lockheed Martin)

3.3 billion from the F-X III fighter jet program is expected to go toward purchasing more of the fifth-generation stealth fighters. While it’s unclear which variant of the F-35 aircraft Seoul intends to purchase, an anonymous source from the country’s Ministry of National Defense informed the outlet earlier this week that the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses concluded a study which revealed “the introduction of more F-35As” would be a “more feasible” acquisition for the air force.

“There are two issues [with getting] the F-35B. First, it’s more expensive than the conventional-takeoff-and-landing version. Second, the deployment of a carrier-type landing ship is far away from now,” the source added.

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.