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Air Force receives last shipment of F-15K fighter jet

All Headlines 10:34 October 08, 2008

By Byun Duk-kun

SEOUL, Oct. 8 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean Air Force received the last shipment of new F-15K fighter jets Wednesday, completing its decade-long project to procure 40 of the highly maneuverable aircraft, the Air Force said.

The last shipment of three F-15K Slam Eagle jets, capable of shooting down enemy aircraft from hundreds of kilometers away, was delivered by U.S. manufacturer Boeing to the country's 11th Fighter Wing in Daegu, according to the Air Force.

"The landing of the last three F-15K on the runway of the 11th Fighter Wing successfully ended the first stage of the FX project, which began in October 2005 with the first delivery of F-15K," it said in a press release.

The completion of the first of the multi-phased projects to secure the latest fighter jets also marks the beginning of the second phase, during which Seoul will purchase an additional 21 F-15K by 2012.

South Korea now has 39 F-15K as one crashed in 2006 after the pilot lost consciousness from exposure to excessive g-force, a phenomenon known as G-Loc. The third phase of the FX project involves purchasing 5th generation fighters with partial or complete stealth abilities.

The F-15K were first weaponized in July after nearly three years of testing and pilot training.

"With an 1,800-kilometer combat range, F-15K can execute missions in any part of the Korean Peninsula, and they will allow us to respond to any type of threat or situation as they are highly maneuverable under any weather conditions," the Air Force said.

The aircraft can also carry up to 10 tons of weapons, at least twice the amount carried by other fighter jets operated in Korea, according to an Air Force official.

Weapons that can be carried by F-15K include the latest radar-guided anti-ship SLAM-ER missile, which has a maximum range of 270 kilometers, beyond the reach of North Korean aircraft's radar, the official said.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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