The state-run Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has announced a project to buy the nation’s next-generation fighters (F-X), Jun Ji-hye political journalist said on 21 December at The Korea Times.
It is widely seen as a move to buy 20 more Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighters in addition to 40 jets that Seoul agreed to buy in 2014. On Nov. 7, U.S. President Donald Trump said, after his summit with President Moon Jae-in in Seoul, that South Korea will be ordering “billions of dollars” of U.S. weapons.
More: Four F-35 stealth fighter jets joined in live-fire exercises near North Korea
Under the last phase, concluded in 2014, the RoKAF ordered 40 F-35As for KRW7.3 trillion (USD6.7 billion), with these aircraft scheduled to be delivered to South Korea from 2018.
More: Lockheed Martin promotes its F-35 fighter jet for Germany Air Force
Initially, South Korea planned to introduce 60 high-tech combat planes with a budget of 8.3 trillion won, but the government later said it had decided to buy 40 F-35s first, saying it would decide later when to buy the remaining 20 based on changes in the national security situation. But the main reason at the time was reportedly the difficulty in allocating the additional funds.