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South Korea suspends fighter jet competition

July 9, 2013 at 4:59 PM

SEOUL, July 9 (UPI) -- South Korea has apparently suspended its plan to buy 60 fighter aircraft.

News reports in Seoul said the suspension is the result of industry bids for the aircraft exceeding the government's budget of $7.2 billion for the planes.

"We have had difficulties in making the firms offer prices within our budget," Baek Yoon-hyeong, spokesman for the Defense Acquisition Program Administration said.

"From the beginning, the DAPA had set the budget at 8.3 trillion won (for 60 jets), and we believe the firms had submitted their proposals based on it. That means that each firm would have evaluated that it could win the project within the budget."

According to Yonhap News Agency, the government will decide later this week to accept additional bids or not.

U.S. companies Boeing and Lockheed Martin are offering their F-15 Silent Eagle and F-35 stealth jet, respectively. Eurofighter, part of the EADS conglomerate, is offering its Tranche 3 Typhoon.

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