|40 of these instead of 60 F-15SEs|
There is still a provision to obtain 20 more aircraft of type to be determined later. This likely could mean an additional 20 F-35s, or some type of "Advanced F-15 Eagle".
Many of you will remember that out of the three aircraft being considered, the F-35 was the first eliminated due to its high cost. The Eurofighter Typhoon was eliminated shortly thereafter on the grounds that the bid did not include enough two-seater aircraft. This was odd considering the F-35 does not even have a two-seater version. With the F-35 and Typhoon both disqualified, Boeing's F-15SE Silent Eagle was declared the de facto winner.
|Don't break out the champagne just yet...|
Instead of getting the planned 60 aircraft, South Korea will only be able to afford 40 F-35s under its 8.3 trillion Won ($7.8 billion US) budget. How Seoul will fill out that 20 aircraft difference remains to be seen, but they won't be scheduled for delivery until around 2023. More than likely, the JCS will push for more F-35s, as Korea's indigenous fighter, the KFX, will likely not be ready by then, and the F-15 will more than likely be out of production, as will the F-16.
South Korean F-35s are planned for delivery beginning in 2018.
For Canada, South Korea's announcement should be a sobering reminder of just how expensive the F-35 is. Just like The Netherlands, South Korea has had to drastically cut the number of fighters planned in order to afford the F-35. If Canada intends of purchasing 65 fighters (down from the 79 CF-18s currently in service), its becoming clear that we will need to spend more.
Or... We could always follow the Dutch and Korean example order less, but the higher-ups at the DND have already stated that 65 fighters is the "bare minimum" needed.
So what's it going to be for Canada? Up the budget? Order less fighters? Get a mixed force? Or skip the F-35 entirely and go for something more affordable?