ANTI-SUBMARINE WARFARE (ASW) AIRCRAFT FOR SOUTH KOREA
South Korea’s acquisition agency, Defence Acquisition Programme Administration (DAPA), has decided to purchase additional ASW aircraft from an undisclosed foreign supplier. While the statement also failed to mention how many aircraft would be purchased, their cost or expected delivery, it is known that the South Korean Navy wants to add six more ASW aircraft to its existing fleet of 16 P-3C and P-3CK Orions already in service. A contract is expected to be signed in the second half of 2018. Boeing’s P-8 Poseidon and Saab’s Swordfish, are reportedly among the candidates.
CHINA INDUCTS J-20 INTO PLAAF
On February 9, 2018, China commissioned its first stealth fighter aircraft in People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), reports Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua. This makes China the second nation after the United States to have a homemade stealth fighter. This is a big development as China can now field its stealth fighter in the Indo-Pacific region against the US and Japanese stealth F-35. Quoting a spokesperson of the PLAAF, the agency reported that the J-20 will comprehensively improve Chinese Air Force’s combat capabilities. Exercise Red Sword 2017 conducted recently by the PLAAF in Tibet, saw the first operational deployment of this aircraft. Reportedly, the air superiority aircraft is expected to join the 9th Brigade of the PLAAF which is deployed facing South China. The J-20 is expected to fly together with Russian made PLAAF’s Su-35 fighters, which were ordered by China in 2015. China paid $2 billion for 24 Su-35 and the aircraft were delivered by Russia by 2017. The J-20 is a fourth–generation fighter jet.