Tuesday, November 5, 2013

F-35: Lockheed said to be confident of 8bn South Korea order

At least that's what the Financial Times is reporting:
Lockheed Martin, the world’s biggest military contractor by sales, is confident of its chances of selling South Korea its F-35 fighter, despite its initial failure to qualify in a competitive tender.


 Stephen O’Bryan, vice-president of F-35 programme integration for Lockheed, said costs per aircraft were falling as production of the fifth-generation fighter increased, making it more affordable for countries such as Korea. South Korean procurement officials initially said that only Boeing’s fourth-generation F15 fighter came within its cost parameters and handed the decision on whether to purchase the aircraft to the country’s cabinet.

The cabinet instead opted to reopen the tender, a move that was widely seen as reflecting convictions within the country’s military that it needed the F-35 in case of future wars. 
I think the affordability criteria was important in making the decision and the F-35's price has come down with each successive LRIP.  As reported yesterday, with increased production in FY 2015, that trend should continue and improve.

That said, I'm still not sure the final decision won't also include some Boeing F-15's as well.  I wouldn't be surprised if it did.


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