South Korea last week confirmed Boeing as the winner of its E-X competition to provide four airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft, three months after rejecting a rival bid from Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI).

The deal, for four Northrop Grumman Mesa radar-equipped 737s, will total $1.6 billion - almost 25% less than the earlier projection of $2.1 billion. South Korea's Defence Acquisition and Programme Agency (DAPA) had threatened to abandon the deal if Boeing's terms were not agreeable, but the US company says a contract will be signed soon and the first aircraft will be delivered in 2011. The aircraft will give Seoul "a powerful capability", says Boeing Integrated Defense Systems chief executive Jim Albaugh.

DAPA rejected IAI's offer to supply Gulfstream G550 business jets equipped with Elta Phalcon radars last August, after the firm failed to secure the required technical assistance agreements to support its bid.

Source: Flight International