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(LEAD) Boeing's F-15SE reportedly chosen as final candidate for S. Korea's next main fighter plane

2013/08/18 15:31

(ATTN: ADDS more details from 3rd para)

SEOUL, Aug. 18 (Yonhap) - The Eurofighter Tranche 3 Typhoon by the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) has reportedly been eliminated from South Korea's multibillion-dollar project to buy new fighter jets, leaving Boeing's F-15 Silent Eagle as the sole final candidate, government sources in Seoul said Sunday.

Earlier on Sunday, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration said that one of the two finalists -- Boeing and EADS -- in the nation's 8.3 trillion won (US$7.2 billion) fighter project has dropped out of the bidding due to problems with their documents.

EADS is known as the company to have stepped out of the race, according to sources in Seoul.

"We disqualified the concerned company and will consider the remaining one firm as a candidate in the committee for defense procurement projects," the national procurement agency said, citing "flaws found in the bidding documents" as reasons of the elimination. It did not elaborate on what kind of document flaws was found.

The committee, presided over by Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin, is to hold the committee in mid-September in order to finally pick a fight jet model to be introduced to South Korea's Air Force.

The competition to win the South Korean project narrowed to a two-way race last week after the two aerospace firms offered their fighter jets for prices below the South Korea's state budget set at 8.3 trillion won. Another player Lockheed Martin submitted a price for its F-35 stealth, exceeding the state budget.

pbr@yna.co.kr

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