South Korea's F-X III competition for 60 fighters appears to have temporarily broken down over pricing.

Seoul's official news agency, Yonhap, quotes Defence Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) spokesman Baek Yoon-hyeong as saying that bids for the requirement have come in over budget, despite 55 separate price bids during three weeks in June.

The competitors for the deal - likely to be the world's largest fighter procurement in 2013 - are the Lockheed Martin F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, Boeing F-15 Silent Eagle and Eurofighter Typhoon.

"We have had difficulties in making the firms offer prices within our budget," says Baek. "So, we gave them more time to have more internal discussions."

Sources close to the competition had previously said that Seoul planned to announce a winner in June.

The reports quote Baek as saying that the budget for deal is won (W) 8.3 trillion ($7.3 billion) for the 60 aircraft.

In April, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) disclosed the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) values of the two US bids. The bid for the F-35 was $10.8 billion.

Boeing's bid for the F-15SE is more complicated, as it comprises a $2.4 billion FMS component as well as a commercial sale component, the price of which Boeing has not publicly disclosed.

Aside from the capabilities of the individual aircraft, Seoul is also weighing the offset value of the competing bids and the amount of assistance that competitors will offer for the indigenous KFX fighter programme.

Source: Flight International