One last attempt for biggest ever fighter jet buy

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One last attempt for biggest ever fighter jet buy

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), Korea’s arms procurement agency, said yesterday that it is taking final bids for an 8.3 trillion won ($7.46 billion) deal to buy 60 fighter jets next week.

An administration spokesman said that the final round of bidding for the nation’s largest-ever procurement project, code-named F-X III, will happen over three days between Aug. 13 and 16. No bids will be taken on Aug. 15 as that is Liberation Day, a national holiday. Six weeks of negotiations have failed to produce a satisfactory bid.

The three contenders are the F-15 Silent Eagle from Boeing, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II and the Eurofighter Typhoon from the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company. Throughout 55 rounds of bidding between June and July, the three firms have continually failed to meet the budget set by the Korean government. If a company wins the contract in the final round of bidding, DAPA spokesman Baek Yoon-hyeong said, “We will continue on to the next stage of the project.”

But should the final round end in failure once more, “we will announce the result of the bidding process officially on Aug. 16,” Baek said.

If there is no successful bid in this final round, the process will return to the drawing board and restart with revised standards, which would likely lead to a delay. Korea kicked off its next-generation fighter jet project last year.


BY SARAH KIM [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]

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