The South Korean authorities had a very bad surprise concerning their F35 fleet, of which 24 of the 40 aircraft ordered have already been delivered to the Asian peninsula. Indeed, Lockheed-Martin and the American authorities are demanding $ 266 million in Seoul, to finance the transition of its fleet to the Block 4 version, the first version considered effectively operational of the Lightning II. This additional cost represents a higher rate than that of 3 new aircraft, or almost 20% of the fleet still to be delivered, simply to bring the aircraft into a usable standard. What, naturally, to create some tensions, in particular within the South Korean political class. This additional cost is partly linked to the slippage in the development of the Block IV standard, which has seen its budget increase by $ 1,9 billion in just one year, as reported by the US Government Accountability Office, or GAO, in a note published on March 18.
This is of course very bad news for the F35 program, which has increased communication actions in recent weeks in an attempt to stem the distancing announced by the US Air Force, and to moderate the devastating effects of such announcement on the chances of convincing export customers, while the device takes part in many international competitions, in particular in Switzerland, Finland and Canada, and that it remains fiercely demanded by the United Arab Emirates. But despite the efforts of Lockheed-Martin, this latest GAO discovery could well end up convincing the American authorities that the promises of budgetary control and reliability promised "for tomorrow" for several years by the American manufacturer, are no longer sufficient in a context. of international tensions intensifying more every day.
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