South Korea Christens the F-35A “Freedom Knight”

South Korea Christens the F-35A “Freedom Knight”

By Dario Leone
May 10 2020
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The name reflects the military’s hope for the advanced fighters “to serve as a loyal knight that protects the freedom of South Korea’s noble value of free democracy.”

South Korea christened its new F-35A fifth-generation fighter jet “Freedom Knight,” Yonhap news agency reported citing Air Force officials.

“We held a contest among our service members and chose the name after holding a deliberation committee session in December,” an Air Force official was quoted as saying. The spokesman added that the name reflects the military’s hope for the advanced fighters “to serve as a loyal knight that protects the freedom of South Korea’s noble value of free democracy.”

The name “also carries the meaning of succeeding missions by the country’s F-5 fighter jets which were codenamed “Freedom Fighter,” according to the official.

The Republic of Korea (ROK) faces a complex threat environment and the stealth F-35A provides the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) an enhanced capability to protect safety and security.

ROK concluded its F-X III fighter acquisition program with the signing of a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) between the U.S. and Korean governments on Sep. 30, 2014, for 40 F-35A Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL). According to DEFPOST, the ROKAF has so far received at least 13 F-35As and is expected to receive 13 more Freedom Knights in 2020 and 14 more the next year.

South Korea is now in process to acquire 20 additional F-35s under the second phase of F-X III, according to a report submitted by the country’s arms procurement agency, Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), to the National Assembly in October last year.

The first F-35A for the ROKAF, known as aircraft AW-1, made its public debut in late March 2018 and pilot training began at Luke AFB, Ariz. in spring 2018.

Seoul showcased its newly-acquired F-35As to the public for the first time during the Armed Forces Day ceremony on Oct. 1, 2019. The ROKAF displayed four F-35s at the event held at the Air Force’s 11th Fighter Wing base in the southeastern city of Daegu. The jets entered operational service in December last year.

South Korea Christens the F-35A “Freedom Knight”
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-35A Lightning II 56th OG, 61st FS, LF/12-5050 / 2014

Photo credit: Lockheed Martin


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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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