EADS hustles to salvage Eurofighter Typhoon bid

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EADS hustles to salvage Eurofighter Typhoon bid

European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS) is working to keep alive the Eurofighter Typhoon’s sales prospects in South Korea after the agency set to select the provider of 60 planes raised questions about the bid.

South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) requested a draft contract over the weekend as EADS sought to clarify its proposal that had “confused” the customer, said Christian Scherer, sales chief of EADS’ Cassidian defense unit.

South Korea is also evaluating offers from Boeing, which is trying to sell an upgraded version of the F-15E called the Silent Eagle, and Lockheed Martin, which is peddling the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The country, already a buyer of F-15s, is looking to acquire 60 jets under the so-called F-X program.

“We have all to play for,” Scherer said late yesterday. “I am still optimistic that whoever is uncomfortable with how we structured our bid will come around and see there is more to it.”

DAPA said Sunday that one of three contestants it refused to identify did not meet conditions specified for the contract. South Korean’s Yonhap News reported Monday that EADS did not meet the requirements, while the Lockheed Martin F-35 offer did not meet the government’s budget cap.

“The F-X source selection process has multiple phases and we will continue to work closely with the U.S. government as they offer the F-35 to Korea,” Lockheed Martin said in an e-mailed statement.

South Korea reopened the fighter bids Aug. 13 after temporarily halting the process in July because all three competitors exceeded the 8.3 trillion won ($7.5 billion) budget.

Boeing has not received any official notification and “we await word on the next steps in the selection process and will continue to work closely with the Republic of Korea in meeting their defense requirements,” the Chicago-based company said by e-mail.

The fight for military exports is intensifying as defense companies seek sales abroad to make up for shrinking prospects in their home markets. Eurofighter lost out to the F-35 in a competition in Japan and last year came short in India, which opted for the Dassault Aviation SA (AM) Rafale.

South Korea has traditionally procured most of its military equipment from the United States, which has nearly 30,000 troops on the peninsula to assist in the country’s national defense.

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