The US State Department approved a Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to the Republic of Korea for follow-on support and services for its F-35 aircraft as 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; US Government and contractor technical and logistics support services; and other related elements of program support for an estimated cost of $675 million.
According to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), “This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by meeting legitimate security and defense needs of one of its closest allies in the INDOPACOM Theater. The Republic of Korea is one of the major political and economic powers in East Asia and the Western Pacific and a key partner of the United States in ensuring peace and stability in the region. The principal contractor will be the Lockheed Martin Corporation, Bethesda, MD and Pratt and Whitney, East Hartford, CT.
South Korea’s received 13 F-35A stealth fighters in 2019 and is expected to receive 40 of the Lockheed Martin-manufactured aircraft by 2021. By 2021, Republic of Korea Air Force is expected to have the third-biggest stealth fighting operation in Asia. The F-35A is the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant intended for the USAF and other air forces. It is the smallest, lightest version and capable of 9 g, the highest of all variants. Although the F-35A currently conducts aerial refueling via boom and receptacle method, the aircraft can be modified for probe-and-drogue refueling if needed by the customer.