The South Korean Defence Ministry plans to purchase stealth bombers capable of avoiding radar detection to counter the threat of North Korea.

South Korean Defence Minister Kim Kwan-jin said the ministry will also proceed with a stealth fighter acquisition project as part of the ongoing F-X fighter programme.

The third phase of the F-X programme will be launched next year and the purchase of stealth aircraft will begin around 2015.

The stealth fighters would allow the air force to launch air raids on strategic targets on its own without the support of the US Forces in Korea.

The US F-22, Boeing’s F-15SE Silent Eagle, Eurofighter’s Typhoon and the F-35 are the potential fighters for the programme, according to the Chosun Ilbo.