That's the dilemma faced by South Korea's Defence Aquisition Program Administration (DAPA).
DAPA is trying to hold a competition for new jet fighters for South Korea's air force. There are three competitors on the short list, two of which have actually shown up, ready for hands-on evaluation - the F-15SE and the Eurofighter. The third one, you guessed it, is the F-35.
On-site performance tests will be held in June for the F-35, in August for the
F-15 SE and in September for the Eurofighter, according to officials at the
Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), South Korea's state arms
procurement agency, on Thursday.
While Boeing and EADS agreed to carry
out performance tests through actual flights with a Korean pilot on board,
Lockheed refused to do so, saying the radar-evading warplane is not in service
and still under development.
The flight-test schedule of the
single-seat F-35 has been delayed, raising concerns over rising costs and that
the aircraft may not be available until 2020.
"Because the F-35 is now
under development, only F-35 pilots can fly it," a DAPA official said.
Instead, the DAPA asked Lockheed to conduct performance tests with simulators
and a Korean pilot on board a different fighter jet and tracking the F-35, the