South Korea approves purchase of CH-47F Chinooks and F-35A fighters

Yeongsik Im /

South Korea’s Defense Project Promotion Committee has approved a 1.4 trillion KRW ($1.54 billion) project to purchase an unspecified number of CH-47F heavy transport helicopters.

The new helicopters will replace South Korea’s current fleet of older Boeing CH-47D Chinooks. The purchase will fall under the Heavy-lift Helicopter-II program, and delivery is expected by 2028.

South Korea opened the invitation to bid for a new heavy-lift helicopter to replace its old fleet in March 2022. A month earlier in February 2022, the government had selected Boeing to provide support and operational readiness to its F-15K, CH-47 and AEW&C fleets.

The approval to acquire new CH-47F Chinooks came at the same time as the country’s defense authorities approved a 3.94 trillion KRW (US$2.97 billion) plan to acquire some 20 additional F-35A fighters by 2028.

The country’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration was quoted by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency as saying that the additional F-35As will help minimize the “defense vacuum” that could emerge as aging fighters are decommissioned.

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