South Korea officially kicked off its ambitious KF-X project to develop indigenous next-generation fighter jets to defend it airspace within the next decade. Despite setbacks last year in acquiring some key technologies for the fighters from the United States, the DAPA unveiled a detailed timeline…
BAE finalizes South Korean F-16 upgrade deal, eyes more prospects
9 hours ago
A F-16 fighter jet belonging to the U.S. Air Force comes in for a landing at a U.S. air force base in …
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Britain's BAE Systems Plc said on Monday it will hire 300 workers at its Fort Worth, Texas, plant and other sites to upgrade over 130 South Korean F-16 fighter jets after finalizing a deal with the U.S. government it hopes to replicate in other places in Europe and Asia in coming years.
BAE in 2012 beat out the maker of the jets, Lockheed Martin Corp , for the upgrade work, which could be worth over $1 billion, according to South Korean media reports.
Historically the companies that make warplanes have also serviced them and carried out major upgrades, but tighter military budgets in the United States and Europe have spurred arms makers to look for business in new areas, such as upgrade work, since there are fewer major new acquisition programs.
Erin Moseley, president of BAE Systems' Support Solutions sector, told Reuters the deal marked a significant expansion of BAE's F-16 modernization business. She added the company was in talks with other countries in Europe and Asia about similar work.
"A number of countries were watching to see if this model could be successful," Moseley said, noting that BAE already does about 40 percent of the work building and upgrading the avionics on the jets.
The company also had a different cost structure than Lockheed, which allowed it to be more "cost-effective," she said.
She said she expected BAE to land another F-16 upgrade deal before the end of 2014, citing a potential market of over 3,000 F-16s that could eventually need upgrades.
"The options are endless, or close to it," Moseley said, adding, "We believe F-16s are going to be there for quite some time. It's going to be a great chance for a franchise."
She said some countries operating F-16s now were interested in buying next-generation F-35 fighter jets, also built by Lockheed, and were looking at upgrading their current F-16s until those jets were available for delivery.
Upgrades also offered options to other countries that could not afford the new jets, she said. BAE is one of the major suppliers to Lockheed on the F-35 program.
BAE said it would begin work immediately on the first phase of the deal, which is worth $200 million, and covers initial design and development efforts.
The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified lawmakers that it had approved the F-16 upgrade sale last month.
The second phase, covered under a separate contract, would kick off in 2014, covering the production and installation of upgrade kits for South Korea's KF-16C/D Block 52 aircraft, BAE said in a statement.
It said work on upgrading South Korea's F-16 fleet would be done mainly at BAE's Fort Worth facility, but other sites in Florida, New York, California and Virginia would also be involved.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)
S.Korea would get F-35s with full combat capability -Pentagon
21 hours ago
By Andrea Shalal-Esa
WASHINGTON, Nov 7 (Reuters) - If South Korea decides to order Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets for delivery in 2017, the aircraft would come with the software needed to carry a full load of weapons, Lockheed and the Pentagon's F-35 program office said Thursday, refuting a claim made earlier this week by a Boeing consultant.
By Andrea Shalal-Esa WASHINGTON, Nov 7 (Reuters) - If South Korea decides to order Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets for delivery in 2017, the aircraft would come with the software needed to carry a full load of weapons, Lockheed and the Pentagon's F-35 program office said Thursday, refuting a claim made earlier this week by a Boeing consultant. South Korea is expected to confirm in coming weeks that it needs radar-evading capabilities such as those offered by the F-35, after an acquisition task force last month rejected a bid to buy Boeing Co's F-15.
Well, Taiwan is a better "friend" to USA than S Korea! We are buying those F-16 which had just begain to become drone as practice target!
What Korean rejected, is way better than what we are to buy!
SKorea rejects Boeing, says F-15 not good enough
South Korea rejects Boeing, the sole remaining bidder, in $7.7B project for 60 fighter jets
A protester raises a card reading: "No! F-15SE" during a rally against a meeting of senior military officers to choose South Korea's next-generation fighter jets as a military policeman stands guard in front of the Defense Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013. South Korea says it is delaying selection of a winning bidder to build 60 new fighter jets in a multibillion dollar weapons project. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
Hyung-Jin Kim, Associated Press 9 hours ago
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- South Korea on Tuesday rejected Boeing Co.'s bid to supply 60 fighter jets in the country's largest-ever weapons purchase even though it was the sole remaining bidder, and said it would reopen the tender.
Boeing had offered its F-15 Silent Eagle, but South Korean critics have said the warplane lacks state-of-the-art stealth capabilities and cannot effectively cope with North Korea's increasing nuclear threats.
Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said officials decided at a meeting Tuesday to delay naming a winning bidder for the 8.3 trillion won ($7.7 billion) purchase, and would restart the bidding process at an early date.
He said South Korea must have better air power in line with an international trend to develop "fifth generation" fighters, and said the rejection of Boeing's bid was made in consideration of North Korea's nuclear weapons program and other factors. Ministry officials said he was referring to a warplane with cutting-edge radar-evading stealth functions which Boeing's plane does not have.
Boeing said in a statement that it was "deeply disappointed" by Tuesday's decision, adding it "rigorously" followed the South Korean arms procurement agency's instructions throughout the entire process.
Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and EADS' Eurofighter Typhoon earlier competed in the bidding process but were eliminated for exceeding Seoul's budget cap.
The F-35 jet, which has been plagued by schedule delays and cost overruns, is widely regarded as a much more advanced and capable aircraft than its predecessors.
Japan announced in 2011 that it would buy 42 F-35 jets in a deal expected to cost more than $5 billion. Japan hopes to receive its first F-35s in 2016, at a cost of about $120 million per plane. But last year it threatened to cancel the multibillion-dollar deal if prices continue to rise or delays threaten the delivery date.
South Korea has traditionally favored importing fighter jets and other weapons from the U.S., which stations 28,500 troops in the country as deterrence against potential aggression from North Korea.
This spring, tensions on the Korean peninsula rose sharply, with Pyongyang threatening nuclear wars to protest toughened U.N. sanctions after its third nuclear test in February. The U.S. took the unusual step of sending its most powerful warplanes — B-2 stealth bombers, F-22 stealth fighters and B-52 bombers — to drills with South Korea in a show of force. B-2 and B-52 bombers are capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
In recent days, South Korean media, retired generals and weapons experts had pressed the government not to pick the F-15 Silent Eagle, arguing better stealth capabilities were needed.
"Only with stealth capabilities can (warplanes) covertly infiltrate North Korea and get rid of its nuclear threats," a group of 15 former air force chiefs of staff said in a recent letter addressed to President Park Geun-hye.
The rivals Koreas have hundreds of thousands of combat-ready troops along a heavily armed border as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. North Korea's air force is relatively old and ill-prepared, but has a large number of aircraft that could be a factor if a conflict were to break out.
Associated Press writer Eric Talmadge in Tokyo contributed to this report.
US spying on Brazil halts talks on warplane purchase
An F/A-18E Super Hornet launches from the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) during operations February 13, 2012 in the Arabian Gulf. Alleged US spying on the communications of Brazil's president have brought negotiations on buying US warplanes to a halt, a Brazilian government source said Tuesday. (AFP Photo/)
8 hours ago
Alleged US spying on the communications of Brazil's president have brought negotiations on buying US warplanes to a halt, a Brazilian government source said Tuesday.
The talks have been going on for years, and got a nudge with a visit from Vice President Joe Biden in May.
"The negotiations were going very well, and then they stopped" with the recent press reports that the National Security Agency had spied on the online and other communications of President Dilma Rousseff. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto was also alleged to have been targeted by the NSA.
The US government was eager to close the aircraft deal in time for a planned October visit to Washington by Rousseff, the source said.
Brazil has been in talks to buy 36 fighter jets for years, at a cost of $5 billion.
The candidates are the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, the Rafale from France's Dassault the Gripen NG by Saab of Sweden.