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KAI preferred bidder for new Korean Air Force jet

South Korean arms procurement has selected a Korean Aerospace Industries/Lockheed Martin team as the preferred bidder to develop and locally build a new fighter aircraft.

By
Richard Tomkins
South Korea plans to build its own F-16-class fighter jet. Photo by Lee O. Tucker/USAF/UPI
South Korea plans to build its own F-16-class fighter jet. Photo by Lee O. Tucker/USAF/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, March 31 (UPI) -- Korea Aerospace Industries, partnered with Lockheed Martin, is the preferred bidder to build a new jet fighter for the country.

The Korea Times, quoting the country's arms procurement agency, said the selection was made after a review of their development plan, capabilities and bid offer for the KF-X program contract.

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"After reviewing their development plan, ability and bid price by the evaluation team comprised of government officials and experts, we've selected KAI as the preferred bidder," the Defense Acquisition Program Administration said in a statement. "The decision was approved at a defense project committee meeting presided over by Defense Minister Han Min-koo.

"We will make a final selection after completing negotiations on details to launch the project in the first half of this year."

The KF-X program is for the indigenous building of F-16-class combat aircraft to replace the Korean Air Force's fleet of F-4s and F-5s. About 120 jets would be in service beginning in about 2025.

The contract for the program is worth an estimated $7.69 billion.

Losing out in the selection by the Defense Acquisition Program Administration is Korean Airlines, which teamed with Airbus Defense and Space for the contract.

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