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F-35 fighter jet project rebooted in S. Korea

After rejecting the Boeing F-15 SE for a 60-jet deal, South Korea's DAPA has reset its project seeking an upgraded fighter fleet.

By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com
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F-35 fighter jet project rebooted in S. Korea
An F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft banks over the flightline at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida on, April 23, 2009. The aircraft is the first F-35 to visit the base which will be the future home of the JSF training facility. (UPI Photo/Julianne Showalter/US Air Force) | License Photo

After rejecting a bid from Boeing to deliver 60 jets starting in 2017, South Korea has formed a task force to restart its fighter jet project Wednesday.

While the Boeing F-15 Silent Eagle was the only jet of three candidates to come in under the $7.2 billion budget, the new project is expected to favor the Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth jet.

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Among the Boeing F-15 SE, Lockheed Martin F-35 and EADS Eurofighter, the F-35 scored the highest in combat capability. The Defense Acquisition Program Administration's decision to reset the bidding was said to be in part over criticism it had focused too much on price, while overlooking skepticism over the F-15's stealth systems.

South Korea is facing increasing concerns over North Korea's nuclear capability, and is looking to replace its aging F-4s and F-5s with an order of 60 new jets over a 5-year period.

Both Lockheed Martin and EADS said they welcomed DAPA's decision, while Boeing called for the agency to explain its decision so it can consider adjusting the technology for the new project.

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