Congress Asked to Arm South Korea Against the North


Early last month, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency sought congressional approval of two competing weapons sales to South Korea. Under one scenario, the ROK could conceivably order 60 Boeing F-15SE Silent Eagle fighter jets to replace its aging fleet of F-4 Phantoms. Under a second scenario, the Koreans might opt to buy 60 of Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters.

Either way, it seemed prudent to secure Congress's OK prior to the ROK making its choice, and so DSCA sought approval from Congress. And yet... fighter jets aren't much use unless they've got bullets to shoot with. And so on Wednesday, DSCA revealed that it's gone back to Congress to seek a pair of additional approvals -- to sell the Koreans either $823 million worth of missiles, bombs, and related equipment to arm the F-15SEs or, alternatively, $793 million worth of similar armaments for the F-35s.

In each case, DSCA explained to Congress that "these aircraft and weapons will provide the ROK with a credible defense capability to deter aggression in the region and ensure interoperability with US forces."

Furthermore, DSCA assured Congress that the "proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by meeting the legitimate security and defense needs of an ally and partner nation."

Should the sales be approved, and also requested by South Korea, the contractors supplying these arms will include both Boeing and Lockheed, and Raytheon and Kaman Corp. besides.

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