Boeing Co., the world's largest aerospace company, is downplaying reports that it won a $7 billion deal to supply South Korea with 60 fighter jets.
"Boeing has not received an official notification from the Republic of Korea regarding a decision in the F-X competition," Amy Horton, a spokeswoman for the Chicago-based company, said in an e-mail. "We await word on the next steps in the selection process and will continue to work closely with the Republic of Korea in meeting their defense requirements."
Boeing's F-15 Silent Eagle is rumored to be the only candidate for the more than $7 billion contest after the Eurofighter's Typhoon was eliminated due to "flaws found in the bidding documents," according to a report yesterday from the Yonhap News Agency, citing unnamed sources within the country's Defense Acquisition Program Administration.
Eurofighter GmbH is owned in part by Leiden, Netherlands-based European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., known as EADS.
Lockheed Martin Corp., the world's largest defense contractor, had also been vying for the competition with the F-35, the U.S. Defense Department's most expensive weapons program, but the Bethesda, Md.-based company's bid was rejected because of its higher cost, according to the article.
Boeing reportedly submitted an offer below the program price ceiling, according to a report today from Reuters.
"Boeing has offered an extremely capable, low-risk and price-competitive Silent Eagle F-X solution that can be delivered on a schedule that meets Korean requirements, and we have proposed a comprehensive offset program that addresses all F-X priority areas and builds on Boeing’s well-established relationship with Korean industry," Horton said in the e-mail.
The plane includes such improvements as stealth coatings and treatments for lower radar visibility, as well as redesigned fuel tanks for internal weapons carriage, according to the company.
South Korea's air force already flies American-made aircraft, including F-15K Slam Eagles made by Boeing and F-16 Fighting Falcons made by Lockheed.
A committee headed by Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin is scheduled to meet next month to formally pick the winner of the fighter jet contest.