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F-35A formally enters South Korean service.

| 2019

The Lockheed Martin F-35A has entered operational service with the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) following a ceremony in the central city of Cheongju, where the nation’s 17th fighter wing is based.

F 35A formally enters South Korean service F-35A (Picture source: Lockheed Martin)

South Korea's air force has received a total of 13 F-35A stealth fighters in 2019 and is expected to receive a total of 40 aircraft by 2021.

Initial operating capability (IOC)  denotes that the F-35A — the aircraft’s conventional takeoff and landing variant — is ready for limited combat deployment following extensive operational testing and evaluation. In detail, ROKAF F-35As in IOC configuration will be capable of flying interdiction, basic close air support, and limited suppression/destruction of enemy air defenses missions. It also means that the ROKAF has sufficiently trained pilots maintainers and support equipment to conduct such missions.

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