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S. Korea Spends 45.7 Tril. Won on Purchasing Foreign Arms from 2006 to 2018
U.S. Weapons Account for 80%
S. Korea Spends 45.7 Tril. Won on Purchasing Foreign Arms from 2006 to 2018
  • By Jung Suk-yee
  • October 7, 2019, 09:22
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Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

The South Korean government had spent 36 trillion won (US$30.08 billion) on buying U.S. arms alone over the past 13 years. The figure accounts for nearly 80 percent of the total.

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) had imported 45.79 trillion won (US$38.25 billion) worth of overseas weapons from 2006 to 2018, according to the DAPA data submitted to Rep. Hong Young-pyo of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) on Oct. 6.

Out of the total amount, the expenditures for U.S. arms came to 35.83 trillion won (US$29.94 billion), including 24.78 trillion won (US$20.70 billion) through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program and 11.06 trillion won (US$9.24 billion) through commercial procurement. The figure takes up 78 percent of the total spending on weapons. The FMS is a program through which the U.S. sell defense articles and services to foreign countries and international organizations.


U.S. arms showed the highest figure in South Korea’s weapons purchases, followed by Germany at 4.13 trillion won (US$3.45 billion), the United Kingdom at 1.38 trillion won (US$1.15 billion) and Israel at 1.27 trillion won (US$1.06 billion).

The biggest project contracted during the period was the next-generation F-X fighter program for the introduction of Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The South Korean government injected a total of 7.15 trillion won (US$5.98 billion) into the project. It also spent 2.20 trillion won (US$1.83 billion) on the KF-16 fighter jet upgrade program and 2.06 trillion won (US$1.72 billion) on the second purchase program of the F-15K Slam Eagle fighter jets.