SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea will soon start evaluating bids from U.S. and European firms in competition to win a $7.3 billion contract for 60 advanced fighter planes, the country’s arms procurement agency said July 5.
The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said 15 experts would review the bids from July 9-14 before Air Force evaluators conduct flight tests.
Boeing (F-15 Silent Eagle), Lockheed Martin (F-35 Lightning II) and Eurofighter (Typhoon) have submitted renewed bids for a deal worth nearly 8.3 trillion won ($7.3 billion), it said.
The state agency had set an initial June 18 deadline for bids. The three firms tendered their offers, but the agency reopened bidding, cited errors in relevant documents.
South Korea aims to select the winner in November, but officials hinted that the selection could be delayed.
“With the bids having been submitted, we now have to go through testing and negotiations,” Oh Tae-Sik, a senior DAPA official, told Yonhap news agency. “These won’t be easy steps. Depending on how long they take, the final decision may be put off until into the next administration [in early 2013].”
DAPA said earlier that some technical requirements would be tested on simulators because core parts of all three jets are still under development.
South Korea has bought 60 of Boeing’s earlier-version F-15s since 2002 under the first two stages of its fighter modernization program. It plans to purchase 60 fighter jets by 2021.