The Republic of Korea Air Force’s (ROKAF) first F-35A Lightning II multi-role fighter aircraft has debuted in the US.
Being the first of six F-35s to be delivered to South Korea this year, the aircraft has been manufactured by Lockheed Martin at its Fort Worth production facility in Texas.
F-35 programme executive officer vice-admiral Mat Winter said: “This is a major step forward for our F-35 Enterprise and our ROKAF partners as we deliver Korea’s first F-35, the first of six F-35 aircraft that will be delivered this year.
“The F-35A is a game-changing capability that will enable the South Korean Forces to operate side-by-side with our US Forces in protecting your nation’s homeland.”
The Korean Air Force’s F-35 programme involves the acquisition of 40 units of the F-35A aircraft through the US Government’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) initiative.
Under the terms of the deal, the first F-35A will be delivered at the US Air Force’s (USAF) Luke Air Force Base (AFB), Arizona, where ROKAF pilots and maintainers will begin training on the aircraft.
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The F-35 fighter jets will arrive in the Republic of Korea’s main operational base at Cheongju next year.
Lockheed’s F-35 aircraft is claimed to be the most advanced, survivable and connected fighter jet across the globe and has the capability to gather, analyse and share data to improve all airborne, surface and ground-based assets in the battlespace while ensuring the enhanced safety of the personnel.