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$675M F-35 support deal for South Korea approved by State Department

A South Korean fighter pilot stands next to his F-35A during the 71st anniversary of Armed Forces Day at the Military Air Base in Daegu, Korea, in October. Photo by Jeon Heon-Kyun/EPA-EFE
A South Korean fighter pilot stands next to his F-35A during the 71st anniversary of Armed Forces Day at the Military Air Base in Daegu, Korea, in October. Photo by Jeon Heon-Kyun/EPA-EFE

April 10 (UPI) -- The State Department approved a $675 million deal Friday involving support work on the F-35 -- as well as related parts and equipment -- to South Korea as part of the Pentagon's foreign military sales program.

According to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the deal would fund support and services for Korea's F-35 aircraft, engines, weapons and related equipment, as well as publications and documentation, support equipment, spare and repair parts and logistics support services.

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"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 DCSA's announcement said. "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."

South Korea's air force received 13 F-35A stealth fighters in 2019 and is expected to receive 40 of the Lockheed Martin-manufactured aircraft by 2021.

By 2021, South Korea is expected to have the third-biggest stealth fighting operation in Asia.

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