Korean Air Line (KAL) and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), along with their partners, have submitted proposals for South Korea’s domestic fighter development project.
A South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) official was quoted by the Yonhap News Agency as saying: "Korean Air, in partnership with Airbus Defense and Space and KAI, which teamed up with Lockheed Martin of the US, made the bid that closed today.
"We plan to choose a preferred bidder next month before a final selection around July."
Citing lack of bidders, DAPA had recently cancelled the first auction for the KRW8.5trn ($7.64bn) Korean Fighter Experimental (KF-X) project, which covers indigenous development and production of around 120 fighter jets of the F-16 class.
The new aircraft would replace the Republic of Korea Air Force’s (ROKAF) aging fleet of F-4D/E Phantom II and F-5E/F Tiger II fighters.
KAL said it will turn the participation in the KF-X project into a chance to lay the groundwork for the development of the South Korean aerospace industry.
A KAL representative said: "In cooperation with Airbus, we will develop our own fighters that exceed Eurofighter so as to provide the military with optimised capabilities and to actively make inroads into foreign markets."
According to the news agency, the programme will witness fierce competition between KAL and KAI, which holds a technical edge over the former due to its expertise in development of the T-50 Golden Eagle and Surion helicopter.
On the other hand, KAL has a larger investment capacity and industry experts note that the company will be complemented by Airbus in terms of technical issues.
The bids are expected to be assessed based on their technological capabilities and price, Agence France-Presse reported.