South Korea plans to acquire four tanker aircraft for induction into the air force by 2017.

Seoul's Defense Acquisition Program Administration said bidding will commence in February 2015, with a contractor to be selected by October 2015, according a report carried by official news agency Yonhap.

Seoul estimates the value of the programme to be over won (W) 1 trillion ($900 million), the report adds.

The primary candidates for the requirement are likely to be the Boeing KC-46 and Airbus Military A330 Multi-role Tanker Transport.

Despite having one of the Asia-Pacific's most powerful air forces, South Korea lacks a comprehensive tanker capability.

The report adds that tanker aircraft would allow fighters to spend more time operating over a series of small islands in the Sea of Japan that are the source of a territorial dispute with Tokyo.

Source: Flight International