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U.S. will provide support and services for F-35A stealth fighter of South Korea

The U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Republic of Korea for follow-on support and services for its F-35A aircraft, engines, weapons and related equipment for an estimated cost of $675 million.

US will provide support and services for F 35 stealth fighter of South Korea 925 A Republic of Korea Air Force F-35A taxis onto the runway July 20, at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. (Picture source U.S. Air Force)

The Republic of Korea has requested follow-on support and services for its F-35A aircraft, engines, and weapons; publications and technical documentation; support equipment; spare and repair parts; repair and return; test equipment; software delivery and support; pilot flight equipment; personnel training equipment; U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics support services; and other related elements of program support. The estimated total program cost is $675 million.

The proposed sale will sustain the Republic of Korea's flight and maintenance activity. It will improve sustainability and continue support for the F-35 fleet. The Republic of Korea will have no difficulty absorbing this support and services into its armed forces.

The Republic of Korea concluded its F-X III fighter acquisition program with the signing of a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) between the U.S. and Korean governments on September 30, 2014, for 40 F-35A Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL) variant jets with initial deliveries beginning in 2018.

The first F-35A for the ROKAF, known as aircraft AW-1, made its public debut in late March 2018 and pilot training began at Luke AFB, Ariz. in spring 2018. Aircraft were delivered to Chongju Air Base in 2019 to meet South Korea’s national security requirements.

The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) has declared initial operating capability (IOC) for its expanding fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II fifth-generation stealth fighter jets on December 17, 2019, according to local media reports.

In October 2019, South Korean arms procurement agency has confirmed the launch of the second phase of its plan to acquire stealthy fighter jets, code-named F-X III, by acquiring 20 more F-35s.