South Korea to resume bidding for F-X Fighter programme next month


The South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) is planning to resume bidding for the country's long-troubled multi-billion dollar F-X III Fighter programme in August 2013.

Bidding for the programme was cancelled by the organisation following competitors' inability to offer prices within the estimated KRW8.3tn ($7.43bn) budget after 55 rounds, earlier this month.

The bidding was carried out from 18 June to 5 July.

DAPA spokesman Baek Youn-hyeong was quoted by Reuters as saying that during a briefing the decision to resume bidding for the F-X project was taken at the defence project committee meeting.

"Bidding for the programme was cancelled by the organisation following competitors' inability to offer prices within the estimated KRW8.3tn ($7.43bn) budget after 55 rounds."

Meanwhile, Youn-hyeong also hinted at the possibility of budget increase, but did not provide additional details.

"If there is no entry with price within the project budget after the resumption of bidding, we will pursue the project again through reviews or increase in overall budget," Youn-hyeong said.

South Korea has consistently insisted that meeting the budget limit was one of the most critical requirements of the programme.

Boeing is proposing its F-15 Silent Eagle, while Lockheed Martin and EADS have offered the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF) and the Tranche 3 Typhoon for the competition, which seeks acquisition of 60 advanced aircraft for replacement of the Republic of Korea Air Force's (ROKAF) ageing F-4 and F-5 fighter aircraft fleet.

Originally scheduled to select a winner in October 2012, for subsequent introduction of the new aircraft into service between 2017 and 2021, F-X III project, which is considered to be the world's biggest fighter procurement this year, has been constantly delayed over pricing issues.

Defence Technology