It seems official according to everything I've read. South Korea's decision is to buy 40 F-35s:
South Korea decided Friday to purchase 40 Lockheed Martin's F-35A stealth fighters for four years starting in 2018, with an option to buy 20 more later depending on the security situation and budget, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.That final paragraph leaves the door open for competitors such as Boeing and EDAS. However it appears like the predominant fighter for South Korea in the coming future is going to be the F-35.
JCS Chairman Choi Yun-hee held a meeting of top commanders to approve the plan to buy the 40 F-35 Block 3s, which are capable of conducting air-to-air and air-to-ground missions with internal carriage and external stations for missiles and bombs. The software configuration is expected to reach the initial operating capability around 2016, according to the U.S. Air Force.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff decided to purchase 40 Lockheed Martin's F-35A stealth fighters for four years starting in 2018, with an option to buy 20 more later depending on the security situation and budget, officials said in a briefing held at the defense ministry on Nov. 22, 2013. (Yonhap)
"The F-35A will be used as a strategic weapon to gain a competitive edge and defeat the enemy in the early stage of war," JCS spokesman Eom Hyo-sik said in a briefing. "The South Korean military will also use the aircraft to effectively deal with provocations."Graff
"The JCS decided to buy 40 jets first to minimize the security vacuum and purchase the remaining 20 after reassessing the required operational capability in accordance with the changing security situations and aerospace technology," Air Force Brig. Gen. Shin Ik-kyun said.
Shin said the stealth jet will play a critical role in destroying major enemy targets as part of the so-called "Kill Chain" defense system, which is designed to detect signs of impending missile attacks and launch pre-emptive strikes.