|40 of one, 20 (used) of the other?|
After announcing a $6.8 billion deal to buy 40 F-35A Lightning II fighters, South Korea is now left with the quandary of filling the gap left in the F-X program. With the original intent to purchase 60 fighters, South Korea's ROKAF (Republic of Korea Air Force) is left short 20 fighters with only $500 million of its $7.3 billion budget left.
In the days of $100 million fighter jets, $25 million (each) doesn't buy you a whole lot. Not new, anyway.
Fortunately for the ROKAF, the USAF has an abundance of F-16s that it can no longer afford to fly thanks to sequestration cuts. Instead, it has put that money towards other priorities.
So now, South Korea is looking to fill its fighter gap by leasing used American F-16s.
For those of you following at home, that means:
- The USAF can't afford to fly some of its F-16s because the F-35 is too expensive.
- The ROKAF couldn't afford the 60 fighters it wanted because the F-35 was too expensive.
- Both air forces are now taking a hit to their capability because the F-35 is too expensive.
Notice a common denominator here?