Preparing to Face Threats North Korea, South Korea Increased Amount of F-35 Fighters

Preparing to Face Threats North Korea, South Korea Increased Amount of F-35 Fighters
South Korea showcased newly acquired F-35 stealth fighter jets to mark Armed Forces Day on Tuesday. (File photo: AFP)

Seoul - South Korea is faced with the increasing threat of nuclear ballistic missiles and continued provocations from North Korea. This led the South Korean government to decide to add 20 more fifth-generation F-35A fighter jets to its air force, ROKAF.

The addition of 20 F-35A stealth aircraft made by Lockheed Martin from the United States will bring the total number of stealth aircraft owned by the South Korean Air Force to 60. In December last year, Seoul had received all 40 F-35A Block 3 aircraft it ordered from the United States.

According to Defense News, it is estimated that it will cost around $3 billion to acquire an additional 20 F-35A fighter jets. An additional 20 F-35A aircraft are expected on the Block 4 variant with additional capabilities including the ability to destroy enemy radars, carry more weapons, additional electronic and electro-optical equipment.

The acquisition of an additional 20 F-35A aircraft is part of "Project FX" which is an effort by the South Korean government to carry out pre-emptive strikes to destroy North Korea's missile and nuclear threats.

Also said, South Korea's House of Representatives, Daesik Kang, said the acquisition of additional F-35A aircraft was necessary because of the progress made by North Korea in missile and nuclear technology.

The South Korean Air Force, according to the country's people's representatives, needs to improve its determinant capability in the "F-X Project" because it is expected to face a "capability gap" in the mid-2020s.

According to the US research agency Wilson Center, North Korea's military has conducted 31 missile tests this year alone and is expected to conduct nuclear tests soon.

Meanwhile, it is also known that South Korea is currently developing the KF-21 Boramae fighter. The KF-21 aircraft developed by Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) is expected to make its maiden flight in July. After making its maiden flight, the KF-21 aircraft will continue flight tests until 2026.

Quoted from Defense Security Asia, KAI plans to supply 40 KF-21 Block 1 units designed for air-to-air missions in 2028. In addition, 80 Block 2 aircraft for air-to-ground missions in 2032 will replace F aircraft. -5E/F and F-16 of the South Korean Air Force.

It is only natural that the development of the KF-21 Boramae aircraft is carried out at a fast pace, this is indeed needed to meet the needs of fighter aircraft that South Korea needs.

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