U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to ask South Korean leader to purchase more F-35A stealth fighter jets.
Korea’s English-language newspapers, The Korea Times, quoting defense analysts, reported that Trump is expected to ask President Moon Jae-in about the purchase of additional F-35As at his planned summit during this year’s G20 summit.
Trump plans to hold another in-person meeting with Moon on June 30 to discuss issues of mutual interest and explore ways to further strengthen their security alliance, according to Cheong Wa Dae and the U.S. Department of State.
They expect Trump to mention South Korea’s purchase of U.S. military equipment “again” at his next encounter with the South Korean leader, as he did in an earlier summit, April 12.
“If Trump brings up the issue of the South Korean government’s additional purchase of F-35As, this could accelerate the procurement project as the Republic of Korea Air Force has repeatedly raised the need to deploy more of the stealth jets,” said Shin Jong-woo, representative secretary of the Korea Defense and Security Forum.
In September 2014, South Korea announced a deal to procure 40 F-35 fighters in a Foreign Military Sale (FMS) deal worth about $6.1 billion. The first two of these fighters arrived here in late March.
Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) spokesman Park Jeong-eun said the procurement project for additional purchases of F-35As has been underway with the advanced research completed earlier this year.
A recent handshake agreement between the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, the producer of the F-35A, lowered this year’s price of the stealth jet to $81.35 million per F-35A from $89.2 million in the previous purchase.
The F-35 is designed to provide the pilot with unsurpassed situational awareness, positive target identification and precision strike in all weather conditions. Mission systems integration and outstanding over-the-nose visibility features are designed to dramatically enhance pilot performance.
With nine countries involved in its development (United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Australia), the F-35 represents a new model of international cooperation, ensuring U.S. and Coalition partner security well into the 21st Century. The F-35 also brings together strategic international partnerships, providing affordability by reducing redundant research and development and providing access to technology around the world. Along these lines, the F-35 will employ a variety of US and allied weapons.