South Korea considers procuring 20 more F-35A fighter jets

World Aviation Defense & Security News - South Korea
South Korea considers procuring 20 more F-35A fighter jets
South Korea is considering the option of procuring 20 additional 5th-generation F-35A fighters to enhance its air combat capabilities in the event of a conflict, military officials said Monday Sept. 12, 2016. The idea of purchasing additional stealth fighters was floated by the military amid escalating nuclear threats posed by North Korea.
South Korea considers procuring 20 more F 35A fighter jets 640 001F-35A Lightning IIs from the 33rd Fighter Wing taxi down the flightline at Volk Field, Wis., during Northern Lightning, Aug. 22, 2016
(Credit: USAF/Senior Airman Stormy Archer)
"As North Korea appears to have enhanced its nuclear and missile capabilities in recent years, we are mending our existing wartime strike programs against the North," a military official said.

Pyongyang has conducted two nuclear tests this year alone after detonating three other devices since 2006. It has also test-fired a series of missiles, including a submarine-launched and intermediate range ballistic missiles.

In 2013, the military decided to buy 40 F-35A fighters to deploy between 2018-2021 as part of its restarted fighter procurement project. Back then, it said 20 additional warplanes could be purchased later depending on the security environments on the Korean Peninsula.

The F-35A is the fighter's air force variant. It is the smallest, lightest F-35 version and is the only variant equipped with an internal cannon, the GAU-22/A.

(Source: Yonhap)