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Israel Gets Air Force Electronics Deal

Posted February. 14, 2006 03:01,   


Controversy is arising over the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF)’s selection of Israel’s Electro-Optics Industries Ltd (ELOP) which had failed to be chosen as a main provider for the state-of-the-art EO-X system aimed at collecting information on North Korea in 1999.

“We again pushed forth the EO-X business since 2004 to replace LOROP, a camera for RPV/Drone that is currently being used, because it is outdated,” the air force official said yesterday, and added, “So, we selected Israel’s ELOP as our foreign supplier last December.”

However, within and outside of ROKAF, suspicions are arising, and some have argued that the process and form of selection should be officially unveiled as ELOP was selected within only six years after it failed the assessment test of EO-X system in 1999.

“We cannot let the public know the process of selection considering that the business is unofficially driven,” said ROKAF amid this turmoil.

In 1999, Raytheon and ROI in the U.S and Thomson in France, along with ELOP, submitted business proposals to ROKAF which set the goal of introducing an EO-X system in 2003. At that time, ROKAF was assessing four companies based on technology transmission, performance, and price. ELOP failed the test.

ELOP immediately complained about the criteria of the test. The business had been delayed for several years because the Ministry of National Defense carried out a full-scale inspection. Rivals complained about the delays because they believed that ELOP would have enough time to make up for their weak points.

Min-Hyuk Park mhpark@donga.com