South Korea To Order 40 F-35s, Maybe 20 More Later

By Bradley Perrett
Source: AWIN First

For the additional 20 aircraft, if they are ordered, the requirements will be reconsidered, he adds. But if they are not, presumably there will be no competition for the F-35 in that later order.

There may be no competition anyway. For the F-X Phase 2 order, only Boeing bid, since every other prospective supplier decided that the air force would certainly want to add more aircraft of the type that had been ordered under Phase 1.

In the same meeting on Nov. 22, the chiefs endorsed the KF-X indigenous fighter program for the mid-term defense budget plan. That does not assure its survival, however. The fiscally and technically challenging KF-program faces great political opposition and is expected to get 2014 funding that will cover only further design studies.

The military wants KF-X development completed by 2020, with deployment from 2023, Yonhap says, citing unnamed officials. The three-year gap between the completion of development and beginning of deployment is not explained, but 2020 is not a realistic date for getting the aircraft ready for service anyway. According to the program schedule, the aircraft would fly for the first time seven years after the launch of full-scale development, which cannot now happen until 2015.

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