Korea will acquire a new generation of stealth fighter jets from overseas to better counter North Korean provocations, the local defense procurement agency said Wednesday.
The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said it has narrowed down the candidates to four fighters: the F-15SE Silent Eagle by Boeing, F-35 Lightning II by Lockheed Martin, Eurofighter Typhoon by the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) and the T-50 PAK-FA by Russian firm Sukhoi.
According to DAPA, the project to acquire 60 fifth-generation stealth fighters is worth 8.29 trillion won ($7.86 billion).
Korea is expected to choose the winner in October next year.
"We've eased the criteria for operational capabilities to ensure more jets could enter the bidding," the agency said in a statement. "We will set up strategies that will allow for the transfer of core technology and that will encourage competition."
DAPA said the new generation of fighters will better prepare Korea against North Korea's "asymmetric capabilities" and will enhance the South's deterrence against surprise air attacks.
The agency said Seoul will also acquire AH-X attack helicopters from overseas. The AH-1W SuperCobra by Bell and AH-64D Block III by Boeing, both American choppers, will compete with the EC-665 Tiger by Eurocopter of France and the T-129 by Turkey.
This project, worth 1.84 trillion won, will see Korea purchase 36 attack helicopters. The winner of the bid will also be announced in October next year. (Yonhap News)