Republic of Korea Receives First F-35A Stealth Fighters
March 30, 2019
The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) received first two F-35A ( Conventional Take Off and Landing /CTOL) fighter jets at a key base in country to join the ranks of Asia's few radar-evading warplane operators, Seoul's arms procurement agency Defence Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said.
Two F-35s arrived at an air base in Cheong Ju, 140 kilometres south of Seoul, after several stopovers for refuelling following their departure from Luke Air Force Base in Arizona last Friday, DAPA declared. The two aircraft are expected to be operationally deployed in April or May 2019.
A total of 10 F-35A fighters, manufactured by the U.S. defence firm Lockheed Martin, are set to arrive in Korea by the end of this year. In 2014, Seoul decided to purchase 40 F-35As for deployment through 2021 at a cost of US$6.5 billion.
In January, the Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the North's ruling Workers' Party, warned that the introduction of the F-35As could spoil the atmosphere of efforts to improve inter-Korean military ties.