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South Korea ready to sign F-35 deal

South Korea has finalised its selection of the Lockheed Martin F-35A, with the nation’s air force to receive 40 of the conventional take-off and landing combat aircraft from 2018.

Revealing the development on 24 September, Lockheed said that Seoul had announced its “intent to sign the letter of offer and acceptance between the US and Korean governments”. An expected value for the multi-billion dollar production deal has not been released.

The F-35 was in March 2014 confirmed as the winner of South Korea’s F-X III fighter contest, which had also involved an advanced version of the Boeing F-15 dubbed the Silent Eagle, and Eurofighter’s Typhoon. The selection cleared the way for formal discussions to occur between Seoul and Washington.

Confirmation of the deal with South Korea sees the Asian nation following Israel and Japan in becoming export customers for the Joint Strike Fighter.

“We look forward to producing and delivering, on time and within budget” to South Korea, says Lockheed Martin Aeronautics executive vice president Orlando Carvalho.

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