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``Grab Korea FX``, Aircraft Companies Compete for Korea`s Future Fighter Selection

``Grab Korea FX``, Aircraft Companies Compete for Korea`s Future Fighter Selection

Posted October. 14, 2001 08:50,   


With the `Seoul Air Show 2001` to be held at Seoul Airport on 15th to 21st, the advertisement wars are taking place among the foreign aircraft manufacturing companies bidding for the next-generation fighter plane of the Korea Air Force. Seeing this air show as a decisive opportunity for the final plane selection of the FX project, the aircraft companies are not only taking the diverse advertisement strategies, but also are attempting the behind-the-scene negotiation.

▼ Air Fighting

The air contest between the FX candidates, the Rafel of France`s Dassault and the F15E of the US`s Boeing, highlighted the air show rehearse opened yesterday to the reporters prior to the official opening. The sharp-shaped Rafale boasted about its diverse aviation skills such as vertical ascent, inverted flight, aerial rotation just in 2 seconds after take off, and also showed off the highly-difficult aviation abilities as it landed right after the vertical ascent. In its first appearance in the international air show, in spite of its heavy body, the F15E paraded the aviation abilities such as vertical ascent, inverted flight and aerial rotation comparable to the Rafale. The Russia`s `SU 35` is supposed to show the dazzling talent such as `Cobra movement` during the air show, and the Eurofighter `Typoon` of the Euro-consortium plans to display its actual model rather than exhibition flight.

▼ Advertisement Competition

With the Seoul Air Show 2001, the FX candidates are advertising extensively in the daily newspapers and magazines, and are exposing their exceptional offers for negotiation such as technology transfer, joint production, and the exports to the third country.

The Boeing Co. has stepped up the active advertisement from the beginning of this year. Nowadays, the F15`s engine manufacturing companies, Pratt & Whitney (P&W) and General Electric (GE) are holding an intensive advertisement competition. The Rafale is also running an advertisement in various magazines.

The Boeing proposed on 12th the negotiation plan amounting to 2.8 billion dollars, containing the technology transfer of total 29 parts including the aircraft body and electronic system. And the Rafale and the Eurofighter will also offer the unprecedented negotiation plan through the press meeting on 16th.

▼ Plane Selection ?

In spite of the fierce advertisement competition, the government`s final decision on the FX project will be hard to be made. The decision has been postponed a couple of times from the original plan scheduled in last July. Some say that the FX plane selection might not be made within this year.

Lee Chol-Hi klimt@donga.com