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SGT Unit Supply Specialist
Lt Col John (Jack) Christensen
"OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — South Korea agreed this month to purchase 20 additional F-35A Lightning II fighter jets to respond to “power imbalances” stemming from North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, according to a news release Wednesday from the Ministry of National Defense procurement agency.

The additional F-35As will have “significantly improved performance,” such as data encryption, over the approximately 40 F-35As already in South Korea’s air force, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration said in the release.

The deal was finalized earlier in December; the new F-35As are expected to be operational by 2027, the administration said.

The administration in March proposed buying 20 fighter jets from the United States for nearly $2.9 billion. In addition to serving as a deterrent against North Korean threats, the new F-35As could fill the void left by jets that are undergoing maintenance, the ministry said at the time.

The U.S. State Department on Sept. 13 approved the sale of up to 25 F-35As and related equipment to South Korea for around $5.06 billion, according to a news release from the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency. "...
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