The aircraft are to be procured for the country’s F-X program to acquire advanced fighters for its air force. Once contracts are negotiated and signed, South Korea will become the third U.S. Foreign Military Sales country that has committed to the aircraft.
“We are honored by and appreciate the trust and confidence the Republic of Korea has placed in the 5th Generation F-35 to meet its demanding security requirements,” said Orlando Carvalho, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics executive vice president. “We look forward to supporting the discussions between the Republic of Korea and U.S. governments in support of a final agreement this year.
“This decision strengthens and extends our long-standing security partnership while enhancing regional stability across the greater Asia Pacific theater.”
Lockheed did not detail in its announcement the number of F-35s South Korea may purchase but a South Korean new service said as many as 40 could be procured through the FMS program, depending on price.
The F-35 is a multi-role, fifth-generation fighter with stealth capability. It comes in three variants, including a short takeoff, vertical landing variant. It has a speed of 1,200 miles per hour and a combat radius of 584 nautical miles.