Russia's main military aircraft maker has decided not to take part in South Korea’s largest-ever arms tender, for a new fighter aircraft, The Korea Times said on Monday citing the country’s military procurement authorities.
The winner of the FX-III tender will sign a $7.3-billion deal to supply 60 advanced fighter jets with stealth capability for South Korea’s Air Force.
“No Russian firm submitted an application to attend the program’s explanatory session, which was a prerequisite to participate, by the Friday registration deadline,” a spokesman for South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) told the paper.
DAPA earlier said Russia’s aircraft manufacturer Sukhoi was listed as one of the four contenders for the F-X III project with its Sukhoi T-50 PAK FA stealth multirole fighter, against American manufacturers Boeing, offering the F-15SE Silent Eagle, Lockheed Martin with the F-35 Lightning II and the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS)’s Eurofighter Typhoon.
Saab also filed an application to participate in the tender with its Gripen multirole fighters, but South Korean officials say the aircraft “does not meet many of the Air Force’s requirements.”
Sukhoi pulled out of the race because it had not sought approval from the Russian government and the local trade mission, officials at the Trade Representation of the Russian Federation in Korea said .
“Both the Russian government and its trade delegations here have yet to receive any proposal from any Russian aviation companies,” a senior Russian trade representative told The Korea Times.
In the early 2000s, Sukhoi lost in the first phase of the tender program, FX-I, largely over concerns about interoperability between the Su-35 fighter it was then offering with South Korea’s existing fleet of mainly U.S.-made aircraft.
Korea has already purchased 60 F-15s from Boeing, which won both the FX-I and II projects in 2002 and 2008.