A $7.7 billion bid by Boeing to manufacture 60 F-15 Silent Eagle jets has been rejected by the South Korean government even though the proposal was the only one to fall within budget specifications.
The war fighter had come under criticism by South Korean officials as being outdated and lacking stealth capabilities.
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“Our air force thinks that we need combat capabilities in response to the latest trend of aerospace technology development centered around the fifth generation fighter jets and to provocations from North Korea,” Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said, according to a Reuters report
South Korea will reopen the bidding process, a process that many say could favor Lockheed Martin’s F-35A, which had been considered too expensive. Seven countries, including Israel and Japan, have already ordered the fifth-generation jet, which has high-tech stealth capability.
The FX-III competition to sell 60 updated fighters to South Korea had been considered by experts to be a three-way race between the F-15, the F-35, and EADS’ Eurofighter Typhoon, The Diplomat reported
The Diplomat said earlier that Lockheed’s bid for the F-35 failed to meet price requirements, and EADS’ proposal came only with two-seater aircraft instead of the 15 twin-seaters the country was seeking.
After the decision was made to scrap the Boeing bid, the Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration released a statement saying it was time to restart the process.
The decision was made “through in-depth discussions on the security situation and the combat environment based on assessments of the jets’ mission capabilities and prices,” according to a news release obtained by The Diplpmat. It added that the Defense Acquisition Program Administration “will promptly restart the project to minimize the security vacuum by consulting related organizations to revise the total budget and requirements.”
Boeing said in a statement that it was “deeply disappointed” by the decision.
The Associated Press noted that South Korea favors importing military weapons and fighter jets from the United States
, which has nearly 30,000 troops stationed on its soil to deter aggression from North Korea.
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