South Korea F-X III contenders spar in competition endgame

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Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Eurofighter have yet to receive official word about the status of their rival bids for South Korea's F-X III competition for 60 fighters.

This comes despite media reports that Boeing's proposal for the 60 aircraft F-X III requirement, the F-15 Silent Eagle, has won out.

Lockheed says it has not received official notification that its F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been knocked out of the contest. This comes on the back of reports that the bid with the stealthy type came in over Seoul's budget.

"Lockheed Martin has not to date received an official notification from the Republic of Korea regarding the results of the price bidding for the F-X programme," the manufacturer says. "The F-X source selection process has multiple phases and we will continue to work closely with the US Government as they offer the F-35 to [South] Korea."

As for the Eurofighter Typhoon, a source familiar with its bid says that Seoul's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has queried Eurofighter's formal offer of six two-seat aircraft and 54 single-seaters. DAPA apparently expected Eurofighter's bid to include 15 twin-seaters and 45 single-seaters.

The source adds that despite the disagreement between Eurofighter and DAPA, the Typhoon remains in the competition.

Boeing, for its part, was non-committal about the status of its offer. In an email to Flightglobal it says that it has not received an official notification regarding a decision on the competition.

"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.

"Boeing has offered an extremely capable, low-risk and price-competitive Silent Eagle F-X solution that can be delivered on a schedule that meets [South] Korean requirements, and we have proposed a comprehensive offset program that addresses all F-X priority areas and builds on Boeing's well-established relationship with [South] Korean industry."

Additional reporting by Dave Majumdar