Australia to service South Korean F-35 strike fighters in Pentagon deal

Three F-35 Joint Strike Fighters (rear to front) AF-2, AF-3 and AF-4, can be seen flying over Edwards Air Force Base in this December 10, 2011 handout photo provided by Lockheed Martin. REUTERS/Lockheed Martin/Darin Russell/Handout

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia will carry out both airframe and engine maintenance for South Korea’s fleet of Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets, as well as its own fleet, an Australian defense source told Reuters on Thursday.

The Pentagon said on Wednesday it chose both Japan and Australia to carry out heavy airframe maintenance for the stealth fighters in Asia, given the high cost of transporting jets across vast distances in the region.

Reporting by Matt Siegel; Additional reporting by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Paul Tait