Airbus, Korean Air to Bid for South Korea Military Deal Martin Rose/Getty Images

Airbus, Korean Air to Bid for South Korea Military Deal

South Korea's military has overwhelmingly chosen US suppliers in the past, especially where the airforce is concerned, reflecting their close military alliance.

SEOUL - European aerospace giant Airbus and South Korean flag carrier Korean Air will make a joint bid to develop new jet fighters for Seoul's air force, a report said Thursday.

The two firms recently agreed to make the joint bid for the project -- intended to produce 120 aircraft to replace the South's ageing F-4 and F-5 jet fighters -- Yonhap news agency said, citing an unnamed KAL official. 

"We have reached an agreement verbally and plan to sign a memorandum of understanding as soon as possible to make the joint bid by February 9," said the official quoted by Yonhap. 

The South's state-run Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) is expected to close on Monday the bidding for the project, estimated to be worth more than $8 billion.  

The US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin reportedly teamed up with the Korea Aerospace Industries to make the bid. 

The final winner will be announced in June or July, Yonhap quoted a DAPA official as saying. 

South Korea's military has overwhelmingly chosen US suppliers in the past, especially where the airforce is concerned, reflecting their close military alliance. 

But Airbus has also made a number of bids for the South's military contracts in recent years, including a $1.38 billion deal to provide air fuelling tankers. The final bidder for the deal has not been chosen yet.

Copyright Agence France Presse, 2015

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