SEOUL, May 28 (UPI) -- The procurement of nearly two dozen maritime patrol aircraft has reportedly been approved by the South Korean military.
An unidentified South Korean military source told The Korea Herald that the new planes would augment the country's fleet of Lockheed Martin P-3 Orions and enhance South Korea's surveillance capabilities of North Korea.
"The Defense Acquisition Program Administration is currently working on a plan, which is likely to be an overseas purchase program," the source said.
The budget for the project, the newspaper said, is an estimated $889 million.
The reported approval of the plan by South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff couldn't be immediately confirmed.
Boeing, with its new P-8 Poseidon, is a possible candidate to provide new maritime patrol aircraft. So are Lockheed Martin and its SC-130J Hercules and Airbus Military's C-295 MPA, the official was quoted as saying.
The South Korean navy is in the process of modernizing its 16 P-3s with new sensors and radars. The upgrades are expected to be completed by 2016.