On 19 March, the first 5th generation, stealth F-35 aircraft destined to the Republic of Korea Air Force made its maiden flight at Lockheed Martin Ft. Worth facility, Texas.
The Republic of Korea is faced with a growing array of threats and a challenging operating environment, both on the ground – with a complex array of air defense systems – and in the air, as multiple countries in the region continue their efforts to develop 5th Generation capabilities. The 5th Generation, stealth F-35 is the ideal platform to proactively deter these growing threats – and it is the only aircraft designed from the ground up with these threats in mind.
According to David Cenciotti, known as AW-1, the aircraft is the first South Korean 5th generation combat aircraft out of 40 F-35A Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL) variant jets that the ROKAF with all aircraft slated for delivery by 2021.
Lockheed Martin is currently working with both the Korean and U.S. governments to ensure delivery of their F-35 aircraft on-time and on-budget to meet Korea’s national security requirements.
The F-35 combines 5th Generation fighter aircraft characteristics — advanced stealth, integrated avionics, sensor fusion and superior logistics support — with the most powerful and comprehensive integrated sensor package of any fighter aircraft in history. The F-35’s advanced stealth allows pilots to penetrate areas without being detected by radars that legacy fighters cannot evade.
More photos of maiden flight for first South Korean F-35 aircraft