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Two more F-35A stealth fighters arrive in S. Korea

All Headlines 14:37 July 16, 2019

SEOUL, July 16 (Yonhap) -- Two more F-35A fighter jets arrived at a key base in South Korea this week, the arms procurement agency said Tuesday, bringing the number of such radar-evading warplanes in the country's Air Force to four.

The fifth-generation fighters, manufactured by the U.S. defense firm Lockheed Martin, arrived at the 17th Fighter Wing in Cheongju, 140 kilometers south of Seoul, on Monday, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).

It follows the arrival of two F-35As in March under Seoul's plan to deploy 40 F-35As through 2021. By the end of this year, a total of 10 F-35A fighters are set to arrive in South Korea.

As a centerpiece of the country's strategic targeting scheme against potential enemy forces, the warplane is expected to boost operational capabilities and strengthen the readiness posture against threats from all directions, according to Air Force officers.

It can fly at a top speed of Mach 1.8 and carry top-of-the-line weapons systems, such as joint direct attack munitions.

The date of full operational deployment has yet to be decided, with some raising suspicions that the military has been cautious amid ongoing peace efforts with North Korea.

An F-35A stealth fighter jet arrives at an air base in Cheongju, 140 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on March 29, 2019, in this photo provided by the Defense Acquisition Program Administration. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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