South Korea has approved the purchase of additional Boeing F-15Ks, but has decided to switch engine manufacturers. The 40 F-15Ks purchased in 2002 under the FX1 program are powered by General Electric F110s, The 21 F-15Ks to be purchased under the FX2 program will have Pratt & Whitney F100s - the same engines powering Korea's KF-16s.
Seoul's Defence Acquisition Program Administration says it "unexpectedly acquired one additional fighter" within its budget range as a result of negotiations with Boeing. The extra aircraft will make up for the F-15K lost in 2006, but was a result of negotiations, not an offer compensation from Boeing, DAPA stresses.
P&W offered its latest Engine Enhancement Program F100-229, which has a 6,000-cycle life versus 4,000 cycles for the basic engine. DAPA says both engine manufacturers fought hard to win the competition, but P&W "offered the better package in terms of better pricing, part production sharing and warranty options". Korea's Samsung Techwin will produce the engines.
Korea also says the terms of the FX2 contract are more favourable, including increased spares and greater manufacturer responsibility. DAPA attributes the improved contract terms to the reduction in the offset requirement from 85% for FX1 to 33% for FX2, which it claims to have used to its advantage in negotiations.
The original FX requirement was for 120 aircraft, and Boeing is still hopeful Korea will come back to the negotiating table one day soon for the other 60 F-15Ks.