South Korea balks as U.S. picks Japan, Australia to service F-35s in Asia

December 18, 2014 4:26 AM

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South Korea balks as U.S. picks Japan, Australia to service F-35s in Asia

WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea said on Thursday it will not send its F-35 fleet to Japan for heavy airframe maintenance, one of the two Asian hubs chosen by the United States to service the Lockheed Martin Corp stealth fighter.

Instead, it is likely to fly the jets to Australia for maintenance, about eight times further away than Japan and well beyond their operating range. The three nations, all key U.S. allies, are the only countries in the region to have ordered the F-35s.

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