By Jeremy Herb - 03/24/14 12:20 PM EDT
South Korea on Monday said it would purchase 40 F-35 fighters as the country’s next-generation aircraft, providing a boost to manufacturer Lockheed Martin.
The South Korean government announced Monday it had selected Lockheed’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter after hinting in November it would choose it over Boeing’s F-15 Stealth Eagle aircraft.
“We are honored by and appreciate the trust and confidence the Republic of Korea has placed in the fifth-generation F-35 to meet its demanding security requirements,” Orlando Carvalho, Lockheed Aeronautics executive vice president, said in a statement.
“This decision strengthens and extends our long-standing security partnership while enhancing regional stability across the greater Asia-Pacific theater,” he said.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s fortunes brightened in South Korea last September, when the government rejected Boeing’s $7.7 billion bid for 60 F-15s and re-opened the competition for a new fighter.
Lockheed’s F-35 bid, along with one from EADS for its Eurofighter Typhoon, had initially been rejected for being over budget.
In November, South Korea showed signs that it would choose the F-35, as government officials talked about wanting next-generation stealth capabilities only available in the aircraft.