FORT WORTH, Texas, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin has praised South Korea's decision to finalized its choice of Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II fighter for the country's F-X aircraft acquisition program.
South Korean officials said on Wednesday that the government intends to sign the Letter of Offer and Acceptance with the U.S. government for 40 of the aircraft. The signing is expected to take place before the end of the month.
The planes would be conventional takeoff and landing variants.
"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 on the Korean Peninsula," said Orlando Carvalho, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics executive vice president. "This decision strengthens and extends our long-standing security partnership and truly enhances the regional stability among our greater Asia-Pacific allies."
Korea in March said it had chosen the F-35 for acquisition over the F-15 Silent Eagle from Boeing and the Eurofighter Typhoon but no documentation with the United States was signed.
Korea will be the third country to procure the F-35 through the Foreign Military Sales program. Israel and Japan selected the F-35A in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
Pratt & Whitney, whose F135 engine will power the South Korean planes, also praised the decision by the country to sign the Letter of Offer and Acceptance.
"We have a longstanding relationship with the Republic of South Korea and look forward to further strengthening that relationship by continuing to deliver dependable, affordable propulsion systems," it said.