South Korea should conclude a deal on a follow-on batch of 20 Boeing F-15K multirole fighters within the next month, says F-15 programme director Steve Winkler. The manufacturer also believes other potential fresh orders from existing Eagle users Japan, Saudi Arabia and Singapore could extend production of the type beyond 2012.

Boeing has now delivered 32 F-15Ks from South Korea's 40-strong order worth $4.2 billion, with the rest to follow by late this year. Although Seoul held an original requirement for 120 F-X fighters, Winkler expects any additional deal to be subject to a fresh competition, potentially starting around 2009-10.

Highlighting the US Air Force's long-term commitment to support operations of 178 single-seat F-15Cs until 2025 and 224 two-seat Es until 2035, Winkler says the service's planned integration of technologies such as an active electronically scanned array radar and digital electronic warfare equipment could match "the sort of configuration we would offer in Japan". Other enhancements to the design could include avionics, radar cross-section and weapon systems, he adds.

Boeing will decide whether to offer Tokyo an F-15 variant or its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet as a McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom replacement once a request for proposals - potentially for about 50 aircraft for delivery from 2012-13 - is issued from later this year, says Winkler.

Source: Flight International