In an unexpected move, the Republic of Korea Navy is pursuing a U.S. offer to supply 20 Lockheed Martin S-3A Viking twinjets for maritime surveillance. The service told legislators in Seoul that this is a lower-cost option for expanding this capability compared to acquiring refurbished P-3C Orions from the same manufacturer to add to the current fleet of 16, or new aircraft such as the Airbus Military C295, Boeing P-8 Poseidon, or Lockheed Martin SC-130J Hercules.
The U.S. Navy withdrew its entire fleet of S-3As in 2009. Some of them are 40 years old, but Korea would likely have the pick of the stored fleet if the deal goes ahead. In March 2009, a North Korean submarine sank one of the South Korea’s Navy corvettes.