S Korea to pay around $8.6 billion for 40 F-35 fighter jets

SEOUL - South Korea has set a budget of around 7.34 trillion won (US$6.79 billion or S$8.6 billion) for 40 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets, a source with direct knowledge of the deal said on Monday, in a purchase to be finalised in the third quarter.

Arms procurement agency Defence Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) reported the estimated budget of 7.34 trillion won to a committee overseeing military procurements earlier on the day, the source said.

The source declined to be identified as not authorised to speak to media.

South Korea decided to redraw the terms of a 8.3 trillion won tender to buy 60 fighters last year after rebuffing Boeing Co's F-15s, reducing the number in December to an initial 40 jets.