S. Korea confirms US$6.8 billion deal for 40 F-35s in Q3Updated: 2014-03-25 10:01:12 (KST)
Korea has announced plans to buy 40 F-35A fifth-generation fighter jets from Lockheed Martin later this year.
The Defense Acquisition Program Administration said Monday that it will go through the U.S. government's Foreign Military Sales process, known as FMS.
Seoul will complete negotiations with Washington over prices and conditions in the third quarter.
The FMS process gives a foreign country the ability to pay the amount specified set by the U.S. government at the time of delivery, not when the contract is signed.
Korea's total budget for the fighter jet project is approximately 7.4 trillion won, or roughly 6.8 billion U.S. dollars.
A recent assessement by Lockheed Martin suggested that the price for one F-35A could drop to 80 million dollars by 2019, when production is in full swing.
It said that could eventually mean lower prices for international buyers, including Korea.
The defense agency said it will monitor the development of the F-35, which has not been tested on the battlefield yet, and whether it fits with all of Korea's military requirements.
With an eye on North Korea, the agency also approved a plan to purchase an unspecified number of RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial surveillance vehicles through FMS.
The high-altitude, long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle can operate in all weather conditions and distinguish an object as small as zero.three meters in size, while carrying 14-hundred kilograms of internal payload.
Experts say the state-of-the-art spy plane fits well with South Korea's missile defense system called the Kill Chain, which is designed to detect impending missile attacks and launch pre-emptive strikes.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.
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