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Imagine If F-35s Went To War Against North Korea: Panic Attack for Kim?

Charlie Gao

Charlie Gao

Security,

No contest? 

Imagine If F-35s Went To War Against North Korea: Panic Attack for Kim?

A mismatch? 

The ROKAF, South Korea’s Air Force received their first F-35A fighter jets in April 2019. The ROKAF hopes to eventually buy forty F-35As and should have ten F-35As by the end of the year.

(This first appeared several weeks ago.)

But how do these aircraft fit into the ROKAF’s existing fleet of aircraft? What role could they play in countering the North Korean KPAF?

The ROKAF already fields a variety of advanced American fighters, including over one hundred KF-16Cs and around 60 F-15K Slam Eagles. The KF-16C is fully integrated with the American AMRAAM air-to-air missile, which the ROKAF fields in the AIM-120C-5 and AIM-120C-7 variants.

The combination of the KF-16C and AMRAAM vastly outclasses the majority of fighters the KPAF can field. The bulk of the KPAF fighter fleet is built out of MiG-21 variants and the J-7 fighter, which can only mount short-range infrared air-to-air missiles. KF-16Cs could just fire AMRAAMs, turn around and bug out before the KPAF MiGs lock on, though individual conditions could dictate engagement at shorter ranges.

While the KPAF do have more advanced MiG-23 and MiG-29 fighters (which variants and specific numbers vary from source to source), the quality of the radars and missiles on these fighters still falls far short of the KF-16C and AMRAAM combination.

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