Lockheed Martin has won a $184 million modification contract to incorporate additional operation, security and technical services in support of the F-35A Lightning II program for the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF), the U.S. Defense Department announced. South Korea inked a $6.4 billion deal for 40 F-35A jets in 2014, of which it has received eight until now. According to reports, the country is planning to add 20 more F-35 jets to its fleet of fighter planes. Work is expected to be complete by January 2021.
South Korea has approved a deal to acquire 40 Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for about KRW7.3 trillion (USD7 billion). The Defense Acquisition Program Executive Committee headed by Minister of National Defense Han Min-gu approved the signing of a letter of offer and acceptance at a meeting in Seoul on 24 September. The F-35A will fulfil the Republic of Korea Air Force’s (RoKAF’s) FX-III requirement, under which Seoul originally planned to buy 60 aircraft to replace 1970s-era McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantom IIs.
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. A drag chute pod can be installed on the F-35A, with the Royal Norwegian Air Force being the first operator to adopt it.