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ADEX 2019: RoKAF F-35 makes ADEX debut, South Korea set to expand order

13 October 2019
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One of the eight RoKAF F-35s delivered to date seen on the static display lineup at ADEX 2019 in Seoul. Source: IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings

The Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) is showcasing its recently delivered Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) combat aircraft at the Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition (ADEX), for the first time as plans to acquire additional numbers are revealed.

A single RoKAF F-35A, serial 007, is being showcased for the first time at the biennial event running from 14 to 20 October. A pair of US Air Force (USAF) aircraft made the event the last time it was held in 2017.

The F-35 is one of the RoKAF's top-five procurement priorities, along with ballistic missile defence (BMD) systems such as Patriot PAC-3, airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) platforms, tanker aircraft, and a new integrated C4I system. In September 2014 South Korea approved a deal to acquire 40 Lockheed Martin F-35As for about KRW7.3 trillion (USD6.4 billion at the time) to satisfy the country's FX-III requirement. This was down from an original requirement of 60 aircraft for cost reasons.

The first two RoKAF aircraft arrived in the country on 29 March of this year, with the country's Defence Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) saying at the time that all 40 F-35As were expected to be delivered and deployed by 2021.

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