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U.S. announces possible sale of weapons for F-35, F-15 to Korea

The U.S. government has notified Congress of possible sales to South Korea of armament for the F-35 or F-15 SE, one of which may be selected as South Korea's new fighter jet, according to a Pentagon agency Thursday.

South Korea plans to purchase 60 advanced jets to replace its aging fleet of F-4s and F-5s. The three competitors for the contract, worth about 8.3 trillion won ($7.4 billion), are Lockheed Martin's F-35 stealth jet, Boeing's F-15 SE and the Eurofighter Tranche 3 from European Aerospace Defense.

The winner is expected to be announced in June.

In a notice to Congress, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said South Korea has also requested a possible sale of aircraft weapons in case the F-35 or F-15 SE is chosen, which include AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles and multiple bombs.

Lockheed asked for $793 million for F-35 aircraft weapons and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support, according to DSCA. Boeing set the price at $823 million.

"This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by meeting the legitimate security and defense needs of an ally and partner nation," the DSCA said. "The ROK (South Korea) continues to be an important force for peace, political stability and economic progress in North East Asia."

In April, the agency informed Congress of a possible sale to South Korea for 60 F-35s or F-15 SEs. (Yonhap News)