South Korea’s First F-35A Lightning II During Its Maiden Flight - Clinton White flickr.com
SEOUL, March 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea appears to be seeking a low-key ceremony to celebrate the rollout of the first F-35A stealth fighter aircraft for its military amid a mood of detente on the peninsula and suspicions of possible corruption related to the deal with Lockheed Martin, defense sources said Saturday.
The Air Force plans to send Lt. Gen. Lee Sung-yong, deputy chief of staff, to the event to be held at the firm's assembly line in Fort Worth, Texas, on March 28. Initially, the Air Force chief Gen. Lee Wang-keun was expected to attend it.
Jeon Jei-guk, head of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), will be absent from the ceremony as well due to a scheduling conflict, according to the state arms agency.
DAPA also canceled a plan to invite South Korean reporters based in Seoul to the ceremony.
A source cited a recent shift in the security condition, with the leaders of South and North Korea scheduled to hold summit talks next month. U.S. President Donald Trump also agreed to sit down with the North's leader Kim Jong-un by May.
It represents a sharp contrast to rising military tensions last year.
Furthermore, many people suspect there might have been bribery and corruption in connection with the contract with Lockheed under the previous administration of Park Geun-hye, who was ousted and arrested.
In 2014, South Korea signed the agreement to purchase 40 F-35As.
Original post: yonhapnews.co.kr
By David Cenciotti
The first F-35 destined to the ROKAF (Republic Of Korea Air Force) has successfully completed its first flight.
On Mar. 19, 2018, the first F-35A destined to the ROKAF performed its maiden flight at Lockheed Martin Ft. Worth facility, Texas. Piloted by LM F-35 Chief Test Pilot and Test Flight Director Alan Norman, the aircraft flew as “Lightning 41”, taking off at 14.48LT and landing at 16.40LT. The photo in this post was taken by Highbrass Photography’s Clinton White during South Korea’s F-35’s first sortie (designated C01).
Known as AW-1, the aircraft is the first South Korean 5th generation combat aircraft out of 40 F-35A Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL) variant jets that the ROKAF with all aircraft slated for delivery by 2021.
The Republic of Korea concluded its F-X III fighter acquisition program with the signing of a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) between the U.S. and Korean governments on Sept. 30, 2014. In December 2017, South Korea’s Defence Acquisition Program Administration established a process for procuring the 20 additional aircraft, the Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported, citing multiple government sources. Source: theaviationist.com