South Korea Said to Pick F-35 in Fighter Buy

South Korea Said to Pick F-35 in Fighter Buy

South Korea reportedly picked the F-35 fighter jet in a deal valued at almost $7 billion, according to a news report.

The country plans to buy 40 of the stealth aircraft made by Lockheed Martin Corp., according to an article by Joyce Lee of Reuters.

South Korea had previously planned to buy 60 F-15SE, an upgraded version of the F-15 made by Boeing Co., rather than the F-35 or the Eurofighter made by Airbus SAS. But the country reversed course amid provocations by North Korea and opted for the radar-evading aircraft instead.


Now, it plans to purchase 40 conventional F-35s for about $6.8 billion, with the first delivery expected in 2018, along with four Global Hawk drones made by Northrop Grumman Corp. for another $800 million-plus, according to the report. The deal is expected to be finalized later this year, making South Korea the 10th country to commit to purchasing the F-35, it stated.

The U.S. Defense Department requested funding for 34 of the aircraft in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, including 26 of the Air Force’s conventional model, F-35A, six of the Marine Corps’ vertical-landing version, F-35B, and two of the Navy’s aircraft carrier variant, F-35C. That’s down from 42 planes the department previously projected it would buy during the period, but up from the 29 aircraft it’s buying this year.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is the Pentagon’s most expensive acquisition effort, estimated last year to cost $391 billion to develop and build a total of 2,457 F-35 Lightning IIs. The fifth-generation, single-engine jet is made by Lockheed Martin Corp. and designed to replace such aircraft as the F-16, A-10, F/A-18 and AV-8B.

The plane is behind schedule and over budget, with numerous developmental problems, including cracking in bulkheads, wing flanges and other areas; tires that blow out too frequently; and software glitches that impact everything from the helmet-mounted display to the automated parts-replacement system, known as the Autonomic Logistics Information System, or ALIS (pronounced “Alice”).

Even so, military officials say the program has passed the point of no return. “I don’t see any scenario where we’re walking back away from this program,” Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan recently told CBS.

Associate Editor Brendan McGarry can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@monster.com.

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Bogdan would have been a good captain on the Death Star. Too big to fail. Interesting, after Bogdan left the KC-46 program, USAF had to report to Congress that assumptions on its sustainment were off…by $10B.

*shrug* If the South Koreans want to jump into this black hole then that’s their choice.

BlackOwl the trouble is that the LM publicity machine will go into overdrive ! It’s funny only senior leadership and ill informed politicians support this program. I personally believe the Boeing F-15SE would be more of a use to the Koreans, many reports on who was really in favour of what ? I haven’t heard any pilot who would want to go into trouble in one yet !! and I have not seen any commentator civy or ex-military praise this aircraft. With the onset of the new Soviet long wave radars, maintaining stealth, especially in regards to the F-35 is doubtful, at least the F22 has all round stealth capability, a high operational ceiling and super cruise. The new Grippen will be a better cheaper aircraft in the F-35 category.
I think the Russians got it right with the PAK-50 & Su-35 package compared to the US F-22 & F35 combination, the PAK-50 has good all round stealth (when the new engines are fitted), both have super cruise, highly agile even heavily loaded, very long range in comparison, heavy weapons loads with the capability of anti-ship missiles; something the US is missing at this stage
If you look at the oleos on the PAK-50 they are massive, it has a wide wheelbase and low approach speed (watch videos). A Naval variant with the Russian or another country would be a game changer for the USN. They will really regret getting rid of their true air defence aircraft ! hell they don’t want the F-35 but are being pushed by Washington.
Can anyone tell me if the F-35 has resumed supersonic testing after the initial flight problems and how is the tailhook testing going ??? I also read today it looks like the F-35 software is going to be at least 13 months late for the F-35B so the others will be in a similar situation.
The F-35 is good money down the toilet !

Now isn’t it strange that Air Force/Navy/Marine authorities who have access to the classified details of the F-35, and who will have to fight or die by its performance, go ahead and order it. Armchair authorities who do not have access to such data, without ever flying in anger, bag it because it is easier to heckle than to press on. I’m glad Orville and Wilbur did not listen to the Nay-sayers of their generation.

The opposite of what happened. The data convinced the South Korean airforce that the F-35 was much worse than the F15SE and they were overturned by politicians who don’t know a wing loading from their arse.

So which part of the F-35 are you fixing up Steve ? — its pretty obvious that the only people who support the F-35 are in the F-35 food chain,

You can bet a good part of the 7 billion will be paid by the US taxpayer in some quid pro quo deal. The South Koreans are not stupid they know a distressed sale when they see it and like Israel will extract a hefty premium to cover Uncle Sam’s embarrassment.

100 F-35 prototypes have been built now. None of them can drop a bomb or fire a missile. All they have is rudimentary training software. The first cut of the basic combat software was coming in July and was already years late. Looks like another two year delay is coming down the pipeline.

I agree that the F-15 would have been a much better choice. Haveing dealt with the F-35 a little, the display software along is a nightmare. The pilot is going to miss a lot of features due to how deep he has to go to do anything.

I guess the GBU-12, GBU-32, GBU-39, and AMRAAM aren’t considered bombs or missiles? http://​www​.reuters​.com/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​/​2​0​1​3​/​1​0​/​3​0​/​u​s​-​l​ock

Paid by US taxpayers to US taxpayer jobs. It’s better than sending military aid to South Korea and have them purchase Typhoons with it.

No one seems interested in the F-15SE. Seems like Boeing keeps losing out to the F-35 on these potential export sales.

BIG loss for South Korea the F-15SE can out clime maneuver and out run the little JSF. Stealth tech is over blown and is over rated by number crunchers.

Overall I wish the USAF not eh ROKAF would buy F-15SE to make up for F-22 cancellations.

Wrong the PAK-50 will replace all Flanker variants. Mikoyan is developing a Stealth light weight fighter to complement the PAK-50.

The South Koreans are choosing to buy the F-35 and they know much more about the aircraft than anyone on this site. So maybe the problems aren’t as bad/insoluble as some on this site believe. The ROK’s are nobodies fool and if the balloon goes up on the Korean peninsula, the F-35 would be a better bet than any other aircraft available for getting their pilots in, and out, of North Korean airspace.
The F-35 isn’t as great an aircraft as the purchasers deserve given the price, but it looks like it will be a very good aircraft for what it is designed to do.

Andrew, you are right of course, but I think all of us will relieved when they start delivering the Block 5 aircraft in a couple years. Yes, all the improvements will be retrofitted into all but the earliest F-35’s delivered, but even so…

Well all of those idiots who choose F-35 must be blind, stupid or crazy… or they are political lackeys, or they really want to lose in battle, or etc, etc, etc.

How is it even possible that someone knows more than the many learned Aviation and aircraft experts on this site. Lots of experienced fighter pilots here with thousands of hours of flight time in pointy nosed aircraft to be sure.

Israel, Japan, and now South Korea. Not to mention Boeing failed to sell Saudi Arabia the SE. Boeing has yet to sell one of these things. We’ll see if they ever do.

The stealth tech is overblown against modern integrated air defense systems. However, against North Korean air defenses, it’s exactly what they need to minimize losses.

“wrought with corruption, bribes, and blackmail”

…doing business in Asia and the Middle East. Just because it’s frowned upon in the West doesn’t mean it’s uncommon in the East.

We’re sending military aid to Korea? They would probably try to go it alone in terms of stealth designs anyways.

Who’s to say that they won’t develop local variants? License the low RCS material and build their own fighters with local electronics?

The big difference is that the armchair generals and admirals who supported this program will NOT be flying in them. they will be long gone and retired by the time the junk strike fighter is operational, their butts will NOT be on the line, they will be sitting by their Lockhead paid for pools beside their Lockhead paid for vacation homes down in Florida sipping wine out of their commemorative Lockhead glasses, with the words “F-35-worl’ds greatest program” etched on them

so the question remains, how many F-35 ‘prototype’ does it take to drop a bomb?

or better still, how many prototype need to be build before we get a working copy?

True we don’t send direct “aid’ to the ROK, but we surely subsidize sales to them considering the importance (and geographical location) as a regional partner. I consider a subsidy to be cost burden incurred by the taxpayer. I don’t actually have a problem with this. It’s better than not selling them at all, and history shows the more air frames that roll off a production line the better the aircraft gets.

Are you sure that penetrating North Korean air defenses would be the best use of South Korean tac-air assets? In the event of a conflict, I suspect the South is going to have its hands full just blunting the North’s mechanized thrusts after the initial gigantic artillery barrage and airfield raids by north korean spec ops forces. I would think air superiority fighters and tank busters would be the most useful platforms during the first week. If I was the ‘South’, I would be content with stopping the onslaught of the North’s ground forces, and just let the Americans handle the bridge busting and C4I interdiction north of the 38th parallel.

Obviously all of those contries are corrupt, stupid and in a word, wrong to have not bought the F-15SE instead of the F-35. It is incredible that all of those people have been bought off or somehow foced away from the only good choice… anything but the F-35. And to think, those other countries could choose from the wonderful Typhoon, Grippen and Rafael aircraft to boot. All of those producers don’t ever bribe or try to influence buyers just like Boeing doesn’t. I really wish Lockheed wasn’t the only corrupt aircraft manufacturer because otherwise, why would the other countries buy their planes?

You just referenced Eric Palmer’s blog as your source for facts and unbiased information.

So who exactly is the completely misinformed ignorant fool?

Block 5, when is that scheduled? Software is late and behind schedule. According to the latest GAO report, block 3 have been skinned to max just to get it in maybe, maybe mid 2015 for the B model. Can block 3 currently work in a f-35 as of now? When they tried it ~6month ago it could not even boot.

For 2026?

I’m not sourcing Eric Palmer himself. He has cited sources from South Korean articles. Did you even take the time to check?

What? Italy is considering halving its f-35 order, some even want to scrap it. They must be crazy; it’s must be russian influence.
http://​theaviationist​.com/​2​0​1​4​/​0​3​/​2​4​/​f​-​3​5​-​c​u​t​s​-ga

–the program does not guarantee industrial gains for Italian industry
–is characterized by too much variability (in terms of cost)
–current costs do not include armament
–Italy will not be allowed to access core sensitive technology, an embargo which “determines a factor of operational dependency on American political-industrial instances”

Meanwhile in the Korean press:
” “It seems like the most optimistic price estimation made under the premise that international sales of 3,200 F-35s will go ahead as planned,” a senior DAPA official said, asking for anonymity”

GAO report state that the f-35 will cost 40% more per flight/hour than “legacy” platform, the exact size of the maintenance crew has yet to be (officially) determined. Concrete performance of a working ALIS has yet to be determined because it’s not working yet. And I am supposed to think that it’s based solely on rational argument.

Lack of competition maybe?

What? Italy is considering halving its f-35 order, some even want to scrap it. They must be crazy; it’s must be russian influence.
http://​theaviationist​.com/​2​0​1​4​/​0​3​/​2​4​/​f​-​3​5​-​c​u​t​s​-ga

–the program does not guarantee industrial gains for Italian industry
–is characterized by too much variability (in terms of cost)
–current costs do not include armament
–Italy will not be allowed to access core sensitive technology, an embargo which “determines a factor of operational dependency on American political-industrial instances”

Meanwhile in the Korean press:
” “It seems like the most optimistic price estimation made under the premise that international sales of 3,200 F-35s will go ahead as planned,” a senior DAPA official said, asking for anonymity”

GAO report state that the f-35 will cost 40% more per flight/hour than “legacy” platform, the exact size of the maintenance crew has yet to be (officially) determined. Concrete performance of a working ALIS has yet to be determined because it’s not working yet. And I am supposed to think that it’s based solely on rational argument.

Lack of competition maybe?

forgot the link about the korean press: http://​www​.globalpost​.com/​d​i​s​p​a​t​c​h​/​n​e​w​s​/​y​o​n​h​a​p​-ne

AFAIK there won’t be PAK-FA in large numbers, probably less than there are f-22. It is more expensive than expected, though nothing like the f-35.

Others variant remain to be seen, but I don’t expect them anytime soon. India wasn’t happy with the cost overrun, it might be a factor why they picked Brazil for the next version.

I’d opt for maybe seeing what the Koreans would come up with before I’d sink any more money into this turd (F-35 for those who can’t keep up). Look at their T-50. Just because you do something for a number of years doesn’t mean you are still good at it.

“Don’t mistake activity with achievement”- John Wooden

Well, when you want to keep a shit sandwich alive, you ask all your friends (that you have [supplement]) to act like they are taking a bite to say “This tastes like cherry pie”. Especially, if you are going to subsidize said sandwich.

This is Justin Beiber arms procurement. If you expect to be in his ‘posse’ you better wear them leather sweatpants him and Kanye sell you at a discount. And you better say that shit is dope. Otherwise 2nd ID may get smaller.

Ironically, this is less gangster than LM and Rhom.

And folks like ex-G-8 members won’t supply them with that tech? Tomcat must have too many hypoxia incidents. “Enemy of my enemy is my friend” sound familiar?

If nothing else, when an F-35 goes down, training or war, that big ass helmet is going to kill the pilot.

How much does that killer, non-working helmet cost again?

PS. I’m not a Boeing fan after the tanker scandal. But that smells less than the Junk Shit (Needs)-Fix’in.

Ah, where did SK get the money to buy 6 Billion dollars worth of F35’s?

If major war starts I know one aircraft that can out do the F-35, and that is the YF-23 Black widow. It will be put into production if a major war stats. It’s huge, it’s fast and stealthy as heck. The Navy would beg Northrop Grumman to get it in production ASAP. The F-35 is not a bad aircraft, it’s just not able to do everything. Which no aircraft can.

South Korea does have a decent economy of their own. What company made your TV?

Considering the numbers of Generals and Admirals we have sitting around it must get awfully costly for Lockheed to go around buying them free things so they’ll support the F-35 over the non-existent alternative aircraft that meet the same design criteria.

Yessir any support for the F-35 is the result of bribery or employment prospects, while any criticism regardless of who it is from is “truth to power” etc.

Obviously this can’t be South Korea recognizing the F-35 as the best aircraft to meet their needs for a strike fighter. Nope, the general opinion on this site is that it can’t do anything right and that anybody with anything positive to say about the aircraft works for Lockheed. So clearly Lockheed held a gun to their head and forced them to buy their terrible fighter.

The Navy? Can’t operate the F-23 from a carrier.

ROKAF: April fools came early this year

I don’t know about a gun; sweat heart deals, co production probably. Anything to sell this this. After all, the USAF project manager has already said it is not an air superiority fighter.

Actually, South Korea was trying to produce their own fighter but have pulled back from that effort. Based on the already established production teaming for F-35, it is very doubtful that S Korea is going to get any additional content at this point on F-35.

That said, it is standard in foreign military sales to require industrial offsets so Lockheed is very probably going to be required to invest some percentage of the funds in the Korean economy . This is the same thing that they would have required of Boeing, EADS, Saab or any other fighter manufacturer.

But is Korea looking for a dedicated air-superiority fighter? Their F-15K can fill that role to a large extent and even the most capable of the European alternatives, the Typhoon doesn’t offer a large improvement over such F-15. The premier USAF air-superiority fighter (the F-22) is no longer in production and was never allowed to be exported.

By comparison the F-35 doesn’t have the range, payload, or performance of the F-15K at high speeds and altitudes but it does have a high degree of stealth, is cheaper to operate than the big F-15, and it also gets them involved with what is still the largest current fighter program in the world despite the problems the program has encountered.

Compared to South Korean F-16s the F-35A is an improvement in all regards despite the fact that the F-35A doesn’t match the sustained turn rate of a lightly loaded F-16. There are far more factors than that.

As OldRetSWO said everybody vying for these fighter contracts offers things like industrial offsets and probably end up buying officials a few steak dinners as well. That’s the way these things happens. Lockheed does it, Boeing does it, the Europeans do it, etc.

Actually, Industrial offests are a matter of law in many countries. It is not a backdoor bribe but rather a condition imposed on all foreign contractors.

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