DAPA to hold second KFX open bid

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DAPA to hold second KFX open bid

Despite its ambitious announcement, Korean Air (KAL), the country’s largest commercial airliner, did not submit a bid for the military’s largest-ever project to develop new mid-level fighter jets, the state procurement agency said Monday.

According to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), only the state-funded Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) participated in the bidding for the KF-X project before the 4 p.m. deadline on Monday. The procurement administration declared the bidding a failure because only one company participated.

Another bidding process will take place with an open competition. If the second bidding process still attracts only one participant, the procurement agency will proceed to sign a deal.

The second bidding will take place at the end of this month, the agency said. It remains to be seen if the KAL will participate in it.

The KAI submitted its bid as announced on Monday in cooperation with Lockheed Martin.

Last week, the commercial airliner announced that it would team up with Airbus Defence and Space, the builder of the Eurofighters, to bid on the project, code-named KF-X.

First announced in 2001, the KF-X project was initiated to produce new multirole fighters with more advanced capabilities than the U.S.-built F-16s. The new combat aircraft will be known as 4.5-generation fighter jets, while the 40 F-35s stealth fighter jets that Korea has decided to purchase are considered fifth generation.

The government decided to invest a total of 18.1 trillion won ($16.94 billion) including 8.5 trillion won for development on the KF-X project, the largest-ever procurement program in the country’s history.

BY SER MYO-JA [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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