Boeing Undercuts Rivals In South Korea Fighter Contest: Sources

By Joyce Lee/Reuters

A Seoul-based Boeing spokesman declined to comment, but on Sunday a spokesman in the United States said: “We believe our F-15 proposal can affordably meet the Republic of Korea’s requirements. We await their decision and stand ready to deliver on our commitments.”

DAPA said on Sunday that an unnamed bidder submitted a price that fell within budget “by arbitrarily changing conditions that were previously agreed upon” on the last of the 13 rounds of bidding between August 13 and 16. This bid will be considered as having “exceeded the budget”, it added.

The sources close to the process said that this was the bid submitted by the Eurofighter consortium, in which EADS is an investor.

EADS maintains that the Eurofighter remains in the race.

“We are open for any constructive discussion with DAPA,” Christian Scherer, head of sales and international operations at EADS Cassidian, said in a statement on Monday.

The sources also said that the Lockheed Martin bid was over-budget, though the company responded on Sunday by saying that it had not received any official notification regarding the latest bidding results.

One industry source said that the capabilities of the new fighters, rather than cost, would be a key factor in Seoul’s decision.

“It’s not going to be decided on cost alone,” said the source, who is not authorized to speak publicly, adding that the cost of the aircraft represents only 15 percent of the decision-making process.

(Additional reporting by Ju-min Park in Seoul, Andrea Shalal-Esa in Washington and Julien Ponthus in Paris; Editing by Siva Govindasamy and David Goodman)

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