On Tuesday during Armed Forces Day ceremony South Korea displayed some of its newly purchased US-made F-35 stealth fighter jets for the first time.
President Moon Jae-in reviewed military planes including an F-35, missiles and artillery systems that were displayed on the ground at the start of the ceremony at an airbase in southeastern South Korea.
Four of the eight Lockheed Martin F-35A jets delivered this year were displayed.
North Korea has criticised the South’s weapons procurements and its joint military drills with the US military as undisguised preparations for war that violate recent inter-Korean agreements aimed at lowering military tensions and force it to develop new short-range missiles.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather, stealth, fifth-generation, multirole combat aircraft, designed for ground-attack and air-superiority missions. It is built by Lockheed Martin and many subcontractors, including Northrop Grumman, Pratt & Whitney, and BAE Systems.
The F-35 has three main models: the conventional takeoff and landing F-35A (CTOL), the short take-off and vertical-landing F-35B (STOVL), and the catapult-assisted take-off but arrested recovery, carrier-based F-35C (CATOBAR). The F-35 descends from the Lockheed Martin X-35, the design that was awarded the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program over the competing Boeing X-32.
Under its biggest ever weapons purchase, South Korea is to buy 40 F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin by 2021. The first few batches of the aircraft arrived in the South this year.
Analysts have said the F-35 stealth jets put North Korea’s anti-aircraft and anti-missile defence systems in a vulnerable position.