This acquisition is part of South Korea’s ongoing efforts to strengthen its military capabilities.
The new F-35As are scheduled to be integrated into the South Korean Air Force (ROKAF) starting in 2027. These aircraft will join the existing fleet of 39 F-35As, significantly bolstering ROKAF’s aerial strength.
DAPA highlights that the newly acquired F-35As will have superior weapons operation and enhanced security features compared to the earlier versions.
This improvement is in line with South Korea’s three-axis defence strategy, which consists of the Korea Massive Punishment & Retaliation (KMPR) system, the Kill Chain preemptive strike system, and the Korea Air and Missile Defence (KAMD) anti-missile shield.
The addition of these state-of-the-art fighters is expected to play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of power in the Korean Peninsula, particularly in response to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats.
“The F-35A is a key force in shaping the Korean three-axis system as a game-changer,” stated a DAPA representative, emphasizing the aircraft’s significance in national defence and regional stability.
The first batch of F-35As, delivered between 2019 and 2022, marked a significant enhancement in South Korea’s defence capabilities.
The upcoming second batch promises further advancements in performance, including improved threat response, encryption/security functions, and armed operation capabilities.
This strategic move reiterates South Korea’s commitment to maintaining a robust defence posture in the face of evolving regional challenges.