South Korea is to invite bids for a new stealth cruise missile to equip its Boeing F-15K Slam Eagle, following technical glitches implementing Lockheed Martin's AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM).
A source at the nation's Defense Acquisition Program Administration confirms that bidding for the missile will open in June. He would not divulge details about how many missiles South Korea intends to acquire, or the specific technical difficulties South Korea encountered trying to implement JASSM.
Possible bidders in the South Korean competition could include Europe's MBDA with its Storm Shadow missile, and MBDA Deutschland/Saab Dynamics joint venture Taurus Systems with its KEPD 350. Lockheed Martin could also submit a bid.
South Korea's official Yonhap news agency says the weapons would be used to strike North Korean nuclear facilities in the event of a crisis on the peninsula.
According to Lockheed Martin, JASSM is a weapon in the 900kg (2,000lb) class with a penetrator/blast fragmentation warhead. An all-weather weapon, it uses an infrared seeker and GPS signals for guidance.
"Designed to destroy high-value, well-defended, fixed and relocatable targets, JASSM's significant stand-off range keeps aircrews well out of danger from hostile air defence systems," the company said.