By Jeremy Herb
South Korea on Tuesday rejected Boeing’s $7.7 billion bid for 60 fighter jets and said it planned to restart the fighter competition.
Boeing’s proposal to sell South Korea 60 F-15 Stealth Eagle fighters was the final bid that out of three that remained, as the other two were tossed for being over budget.
South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said that it would restart the acquisition process because it felt the F-15 did not meet the requirements for the South Korean Air Force.
“A majority of the committee members agreed to reject [the F-15] and restart the project," Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-Seok said, according toAgence France-Presse.
Boeing’s F-15 Silent Eagle is a fourth-generation fighter, lacking some of the stealth capabilities of the fifth-generation F-35 from Lockheed Martin.
“There is a consensus that South Korea needs the fifth-generation fighter jet to deter the growing threat posed by North Korea," Kim said.
Lockheed’s F-35 bid, as well as one from EADS for its Eurofighter Typhoon, had already been rejected for being over-budget.
South Korea said that it would begin the project from scratch and re-assess its budget for the new fighters, according to AFP.
"We believe that the whole review process will take about a year," Kim said. "We will expedite the process to make sure that the void in our national defense will be limited to a minimum.”