The first two of 40 Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters ordered for the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) arrived at South Korea's Cheongju Air Base on 29 March.
In a statement issued that same day the country's Defence Acquisition Programme Administration (DAPA) said the aircraft landed safely at their main operational airbase after several stopovers for refueling following their departure from Luke Air Force Base in the US state of Arizona.
DAPA noted that the two aircraft are set to become operational by May, with all 40 F-35As expected to be delivered and deployed by 2021. DAPA chief Wang Jung-hong said that Seoul expects the F-35As to enhance the RoKAF's operational capabilities and strengthen its readiness posture as neighboring countries also introduce stealth fighters.
In September 2014 Seoul approved a deal to acquire 40 conventional take-off and landing F-35As for the RoKAF for about KRW7.3 trillion (USD6.5 billion).
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