The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of two potential sales of F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF) and F-15 Silent Eagle aircraft, along with associated equipment, to South Korea.
Under the first estimated $10.8bn foreign military sale (FMS), Republic of Korea has requested 60 Pratt & Whitney F-135 engine-equipped F-35A conventional take off and landing (CTOL) aircraft, along with nine spare engines, electronic warfare systems, command, control, communication, computer and intelligence/communication, navigational and identification (C4I/CNI) system.
Additional equipment includes an autonomic logistics global support system (ALGS), autonomic logistics information system (ALIS), full mission trainer, weapons employment capability, and other subsystems, features, and capabilities, F-35 Performance Based Logistics, as well as F-35 unique infrared flares and reprogramming centre.
The potential sale also covers the provision of software development/integration, aircraft ferry and tanker support, support equipment, tools and test equipment, spares and repair parts, personnel training and training equipment, and logistics and programme support services.
As part of the second estimated $2.4bn direct commercial sale, South Korea is seeking delivery of a total of 60 F-15 Silent Eagle aircraft, 60 active electronically scanned array radar (AESA) radar sets, digital electronic warfare systems (DEWS), AN/AAQ-33 sniper targeting systems, and AN/AAS-42 infrared search and track (IRST) systems.
Other components include 132 ultra-high frequency/very high frequency (UHF/VHF) secure radios with HAVE QUICK II, 69 Link-16 terminals and spares, advanced display core processor II, a joint mission planning system, multiple support equipment items, a GEM-V GPS airborne receiver module, as well as communication security, software development/integration and other support services.
Scheduled to boost ROK’s air-to-air and air-to-ground self-defence capability with an aim to eventually deter aggression in the region, the aircraft will replace the national Air Force’s F-4 aircraft fleet, and also increase interoperability with the US forces.
Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney Military Engines will serve as prime contractors for the first sale, while the second DCS features Boeing as the prime contractor.
Image: A Republic of Korea Air Force’s F-4E Phantom II aircraft during its flight. Photo: Courtesy of MSgt. Philip J. Lewis, USAF.