(UPI) — More F-35 stealth fighters could be soon deployed to Korea and Japan, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Monday.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, with a maximum speed of around Mach 1.6, is a single-seat, single-engine multirole fighter that could be deployed by the dozens in Northeast Asia, according to the report.
A squadron of the fighter jets is already stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan and took part in joint drills in South Korea in March.
Eight F-35B fighters demonstrated its precision strike capabilities during the March exercises known as Foal Eagle.
The U.S. Air Force is also to deploy F-35A fighter jets of the 34th Fighter Squadron to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, and Osan Air Force Base in South Korea by the end of 2017.
A total of 40 F-35 fighters are to be deployed to South Korea by 2021, according to Yonhap.
The F-35A can be equipped with four missiles, including two GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition air-to-ground and two AIM-120C air-to-air missiles.
North Korea has been acquiring radar systems to prepare for possible F-35A incursions and has deployed more than 40 air-to-surface SA-5 Gammon missiles near Pyongyang, according to the report.