South Korea is to spend 34.5 trillion won ($26.5 billion) on defence projects over the next five years. The defence ministry's draft budget for next year is set at 16.56 billion won, a 7.6% increase on 2001, reports The Korea Herald. The defence ministry expects to announce the winners of its 4.3 trillion won F-X fighter competition, 2.4 trillion won SAM-Xair defence system and 2.1 trillion won AH-X attack helicopter competitions in October. Other plans include the introduction of eight Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft by 2006 but a competition for VIP helicopters for the president has been shelved.

Source: Flight International