The US has refused to transfer core technologies connected to theF-35 fighter to Korea according to media in the country, throwing plans to acquire them for the Air Force up in the air.

Lockheed Martin had agreed in negotiations in September last year to transfer the technologies to Korea but US government intervention means the entire project may have to be halted.

According to data lawmaker Ahn Gyu-baek obtained from the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), the Korean military signed the contract with Lockheed Martin last September to buy 40 F-35As. Lockheed Martin promised to provide Korea with technical assistance on 25 technologies, including the AESA radar.

It is now being reported that the US government did not approve the transfer of four of the 25 technologies for security reasons.

DAPA is said to be seeking to independently develop the AESA radar and infrared search technologies with a European company.

With deliveries planned to begin in 2018, South Korea would benefit from the scale of F-35 production at the time. With full-scale production having begun, the Unit Recurring Flyaway cost of one F-35A is expected to be $80 million, which includes the aircraft, avionics and mission systems, the engine, logistics support, and a flight simulator.


  1. This was a similar issue with regards to the UK. However that was resolved.

    SK is not a tier 1 partner, you also have the proximity and potential for espionage from 2 rather belligerent neighbours.

    Still, it does – at face value – seem like rather a snub to one of the US’s key allies in the region.


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