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F-15SE Standing Alone in South Korean Contest, Confirming Forecast International's Long-Held View as Strong ContenderNewtown, CT, )
South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced that one of the two finalists for the 60-aircraft procurement has been eliminated from the competition. The agency cited unspecified "flaws found in the bidding documents" as a reason for the elimination.
According to the South Korean press, the F-15SE and the Eurofighter Typhoon were the two finalists for the procurement. Although DAPA did not reveal the name of the eliminated contender, an official of EADS, a partner in the Eurofighter consortium, later confirmed that the aircraft eliminated from the contest was the Typhoon.
Commonality is a big advantage for the F-15SE, as South Korea acquired 60 F-15Ks under the first two phases of the F-X program. The F-15K is an earlier version of the F-15E.
The fighter contest had become a two-way competition only a few days prior, when the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was reportedly dropped from consideration because the submitted F-35 price exceeded South Korea's budget for the program. It should be noted that, at present, both Lockheed Martin and Eurofighter remain committed to pursuing the F-X contract.
DAPA will now conduct a comprehensive assessment of the program, and announce the results in September.
The F-15SE is a new version of Boeing's F-15E fighter aircraft. The SE features conformal weapons bays that enable the aircraft to carry weapons internally. The conformal weapons bays can be reconfigured into conformal fuel tanks should operational requirements dictate. The F-15SE also features outward canted vertical tails and enhanced avionics.
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