Military Aerospace Technology Today is: Oct 10, 2007
Volume: 6  Issue: 1
Published: Feb 21, 2007

Download Who's Who in DISA 2007

Download 2007 VETS GWAC Catalog

Download DISA 2007 Contracts Guide

Download PEO-EIS 2007 Catalog

Military Aerospace Technology Online Archives

This article was Originally Published on May 01, 2002 in Volume: 1  Issue: 2

South Koreans Select F-15K

Dassault effort falls short in bid for next generation fighter.

By Dan Cook

Print this Article
Send a Letter to the Editor

The Republic of Korea (ROK) Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced April 19 it has completed its F-X fighter aircraft evaluation and will finalize a contract with Boeing for 40 F-15Ks and associated weapons and support. The announcement was a bitter loss for French airframe manufacturer Dassault Aviation, which had hoped to sell its Rafale fighter to the Koreans. It called the action a "political decision."

"We are honored that the F-15K was selected, and excited that we will be able to expand our long-standing relationship with the Republic of Korea," said Boeing chairman and chief executive officer Phil Condit. "Our best people and strongest efforts will help ensure a successful program for the Korean people."

Dassault had filed suit in a South Korean court, seeking to freeze the selection process due to alleged irregularities and to block the selection of Boeing. That suit is still pending, and a Dassault executive announced April 19 the firm will press its legal action. The court had been expected to rule on the case in late April.

"The decision [to select Boeing] is not fair," said Yves Robins, Dassault's vice president of international relations, shortly after the Korean announcement.

"We will proceed with our legal action," Robins said.

"Since the result of the first phase which has not given Rafale as the winner despite the multiple advantages such as lower prices, better technical/operational capabilities and technology transfer compared to F15, such a political decision was anticipated," the Dassault Aviation/Snecma Moteurs/Thales consortium said in a statement released April 19.

It added that the partners "regret that despite assurances repeatedly given at all levels of the Korean authorities on the transparency and fairness of this competition - including the possibility to buy a non-U.S. aircraft - the Korean Ministry of Defense has once more made its choice solely for ROK/U.S. political considerations." The deal may total nearly $4 billion.

"The Ministry of Defense already gave preference to a U.S. solution in 1990 for maritime patrol aircraft with the choice of P-3C Orion against Dassault Aviation/Snecma/Thales Atlantic 2 for the same reason," the statement added. "Since such a decision is 'a matter of national sovereignty,' they respect it but they reserve all the rights with respect to any legal action regarding fairness and transparency of the competition in order to defend the image of Rafale worldwide and the damage of such a so-called competition result."

Boeing, a purchaser of Korean aerospace products, said in a statement released after the Korean announcement that it will use the F-15K program to "enhance partnerships with Korean companies." The company said it is committed to helping address Korea's industrial and technology development priorities, including the stated desire for Korea to produce its own fighter by 2015.

The Associated Press reported from Seoul that as part of the contract, Boeing would hand over $880 million worth of technology and give various contracts totaling $2 billion for South Korean aircraft parts makers. Dassault claims that its Rafale outdid the F-15 in the first-round appraisal of combat capabilities, and has accused the defense ministry of adopting the playoff format as "a lifesaver for the U.S. competitor." But a top Boeing official dismissed the French complaint.

"It is very gratifying that Korea's transparent and fair evaluation led it to decide that the F-15K provides the modern, long-range, multi-role capabilities it requires well into the 21st century," said Jerry Daniels, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Military Aircraft and Missile Systems.

"This was a great team effort. The Korean Air Force has my full commitment that we will work together to deliver them the world's most advanced fighter-bomber," Daniels added. "This will certainly be a 'next-generation' project in every aspect, and we look forward to building on our relationships with Korean industry through this program."

In announcing the selection, the Korean government cited the F-15K's strengths as its multi-role performance, payload-carrying ability, combat radius, engine performance, survivability, proven performance, software maintenance and upgrade capabilities, and the fact that 15 new technologies will be applied to the aircraft.

The MND also chose U.S. manufacturer General Electric to supply F110 fighter engines for the F-15K, marking a first in the F-15's 28-year history. The engine deal is expected to be worth $340 million. GE edged out Pratt & Whitney, which had supplied engines for previous F-15s. GEAE's F110 engine family has been the best-selling engine for single-engine F-16C/Ds worldwide.

The F110 engines will be assembled through a licensing agreement with Samsung Techwin Co., Ltd. GEAE will handle final assembly of the initial engines, then it will transition to Samsung, using full engine kits produced by GEAE. For several decades, Samsung has assembled, under license, GEAE's T700, J79, and J85 engines powering Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) aircraft. GEAE and Samsung are also working together on the ROKAF's T-50 advanced trainer/light combat aircraft, to be powered by GEAE's F404 engine.

Production of the 40 F-15K aircraft will augment current production of U.S. Air Force F-15s at the Boeing facility in St. Louis, currently kept open by the production of just 10 F-15Es for the U.S. Air Force. The first F-15K will be delivered during 2005, the last in 2008.  It is an advanced derivative of the U.S. Air Force F-15E (see sidebar). It can perform air-to-ground and air-to-air missions during the day or at night, in virtually any weather.

It can carry more than 23,000 pounds of payload, reach Mach 2.5, and incorporates the latest military technologies. These include the APG-63 (V) 1 radar, a third-generation forward looking infrared system, a helmet-mounted cueing system, and weapons-control systems that support advanced weapons such as the Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM), Standoff Land Attack Missile-Expanded Response (SLAM-ER), Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), and the Aim-9X Sidewinder.

Failure to secure the Korean contract leaves Dassault still hunting for its first Rafale export order, and orders from the French government have been slower than expected.

The entry from Eurofighter GmbH was eliminated from the competition last month along with that of Russia's Sukhoi. Eurofighter had hoped to land its first non-European order for its Typhoon fighter. Eurofighter is owned by European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co, (EADS) of Germany and France, Britain's BAE Systems Plc and Finmeccanica S.p.A. of Italy.

"We settled on Boeing's F-15K after taking into account security, diplomatic and trade partnerships with bidders' countries in the final round of competition," MND spokesman Brig. Gen. Hwang Eui-dong told the Korea Times, which also quoted Vice Defense Minister Kwon Young-hyo as having said that the military alliance between South Korea and the U.S. played a predominant role, revealing that the F-15K marked "excellent" in allied operation category. By contrast, the Rafale marked "poor" in the category. The U.S. has maintained troops in South Korea since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

"We won this important sale mainly because of the great work done by local Boeing workers," said Sen. Kit Bond, R-MO. "It's rather simple; our Korean friends recognized that St. Louis builds the best fighter planes in the world."

A senior member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, Bond played a role in securing more than $700 million in 1999 and 2000 to purchase 10 additional F-15Es to keep the Boeing St. Louis production in operation until the Korean sale materialized.

"We knew that we had to keep the line open to win this sale," Bond said April 19. "It was a risky, up-hill climb, but it paid off, and will continue to do so for hundreds of skilled Boeing workers in St. Louis. A lot of very hard work and hard-nosed negotiating went on in Washington to make sure this deal could happen."

The competition among the manufacturers was acrimonious. Prior to the lawsuit filed by Dassault on April 4, the police raided the offices of its South Korean partner, Alfred Communication, on March 25 as a part of an investigation into allegations that MND officials and Dassault's local lobbying firm had exchanged documents relative to the contract. Dassault's Robins complained about the police seizure of computer equipment and promotional materials, calling the action "clearly a breach of our freedom to communicate at a very critical stage."

Last October, police opened an investigation of suspected industrial espionage against Dassault when a wiretap device was discovered in Dassault Seoul office. Robins said the device was found in the telephone exchange of the office building and was connected to Dassault telephone lines.

Robins did not returned several requests from MAT for further information on the allegations of industrial espionage and his comments on political pressure from the United States against the South Korean government.

To Top

Home | Archives | Events | Contact | Advertisers | Subscribe

Defense Consulting & Outsourcing  Military Advanced Education  Military Geospatial Technology  Military Information Technology  Military Logistics Forum  Military Medical Technology  Military Training Technology  Special Operations Technology

Web site by Foster Web Marketing

© 2007 Kerrigan Media International, Inc. All rights reserved. Kerrigan Media International, Inc. ("we," "us") provides publications, information, content, text and graphic material, and other products and services (all and/or any portion of which, are individually and collectively referred to as "KMI Publications"). KMI Publications also refers to web sites, production, processing and communications facilities whether owned, operated or provided by us ourselves or in conjunction with others pursuant to contractual arrangements. KMI Publications are for informational purposes only and your access, use, subscription to or display of any KMI Publications is subject to applicable U.S. law and regulation, as well as certain international treaties. You may access and use KMI Publications and download and print or create only one copy of content or the information in KMI Publications, solely for your own personal use. You may not republish, upload, post, transmit or distribute materials from any KMI Publications, without our prior written permission. Modification of or useof any KMI Publications for any other purpose is a violation of our copyright and other proprietary rights, and is strictly prohibited. All trademarks, service marks, and logos used on or in KMI Publications are either ours or are used with permission.