Boeing, Lockheed Martin square off on F-X III

Seoul
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Boeing and Lockheed Martin mounted a major sales push at the Seoul air show, both determined to win the country's F-X III competition for more than 60 fighter aircraft.

The Boeing stand featured an F-15 Silent Eagle simulator with tandem positions for a pilot and weapons systems officer. The Lockheed stand had an F-35 simulator.

In demonstrations for South Korean officials and military personnel, Boeing highlighted the F-15SE's single large multifunction display touchscreen.

Meanwhile outside the show, Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) F-15Ks performed aerial displays, while Lockheed Martin fielded a full-size mock-up of an F-35 in ROKAF colours that included a realistic cockpit.

f-15se

 © Boeing

Eurofighter's Typhoon campaign was somewhat lower profile, although the campaign team was on-hand to meet South Korean officials.

Sukhoi, which has put forward its developmental PAK FA for F-X III, had no presence at the show. Industry observers are unanimous that the Russian aircraft has little chance of winning the competition.

Boeing pitched the F-15SE as a low-risk, proven aircraft that can assume a degree of low observability in the early days of a conflict through the use of conformal weapons bays. Following the suppression of the enemy's air defences, the weapons bays can be removed and the aircraft reconfigured to carry a larger payload.

Lockheed Martin stressed the F-35's stealth qualities and its ability to penetrate enemy air defences. This capability, it feels, provides a substantial deterrent against current threats, such as North Korea, and possible threats up to 40 years in the future.

It added that the conventional take-off and landing F-35A could be available for delivery to ROKAF in 2016.

Seoul is expected to issue a request for proposals in February 2012.