The Defense Security Command is investigating a former weapons broker for the U.S. firm Boeing on suspicion that it had leaked classified military intelligence regarding Seoul’s projects to acquire attack helicopters and fighter jets.
The Korean firm in question is suspected of leaking secrets in connection with the required operational capability, or ROC, of the military aircraft Seoul has sought to purchase through large-scale procurement competitions.
Earlier this month, Boeing won the 1.8 trillion won ($1.6 billion) contest to provide 36 combat helicopters to South Korea. It is also one of the three candidates for Seoul’s 8.3 trillion won project to secure a high-end fleet of 60 fighters.
Last Thursday, the DSC raided the office of the brokerage company, whose name was withheld to the media, a military source said.
The Korean firm served as a broker for Boeing during the second phase of the so-called FX project in 2008. Boeing won the first two phases of the project and sold 60 F-15Ks to South Korea.
By the end of June, the Seoul government is to announce the winner for the ongoing final and third phase of the FX contest in which its acquisition agency has excluded the participation of any brokers.
The investigation reportedly focuses on whether Boeing or the Defense Acquisition Program Administration was implicated in the alleged leak of military secrets by the broker.
The DAPA denied any involvement.
“The briefing over the ROC is given at the same time to all competitors. So what is crucial is when the intelligence was leaked,” a government source told The Korea Herald, declining to be named.
Observers anticipated that should any irregularities be found in the process of picking the candidate for the competition to procure attack helicopters, there could be a reconsideration of Seoul’s decision.
Some industry sources said as competition has heated up for the final FX contest, some of the competitors might have tipped the Seoul government off on the leak.
For the fighter procurement project, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 stealth warplane, Boeing’s F-15 Silent Eagle and the Eurofighter Typhoon of the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company N.V. are the three candidates.
By Song Sang-ho (email@example.com