Posted : 2012-01-29 16:53
Updated : 2012-01-29 16:53

Russia pulls out of Korea fighter project

Sweden’s JAS 39 Gripen

Sweden mulls taking part in FX-III race with Gripen

By Lee Tae-hoon

Russia will not enter Korea’s advanced jet acquisition project as none of its aircraft manufacturers including Sukhoi expressed their intent to join the heated competition, officials here said.

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) listed Sukhoi’s T-50 PAK-FA in July last year as one of the four contenders to have expressed an interest in joining the open bidding worth 8.29 trillion won ($7.3 billion) along with Boeing, Lockheed Martin and the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS).

``No Russian firm submitted an application to attend the program’s explanatory session, which was a prerequisite to participate, by the Friday registration deadline,” a spokesman of DAPA said.

He noted that a representative from Swedish company Saab, which has been searching for additional export orders for its Gripen multirole fighters, successfully filed an application for the mandatory session along with Boeing, Lockheed Martine and EADS.

“It is too early to tell whether Saab is serious about joining the race, or the European company will be attending the session out of curiosity and have a peek at Korea’s demands,” a senior DAPA official said.

``What appears certain is that the Swedish firm’s aircraft, including the Gripen, does not meet many of the Air Force’s requirements.”

DAPA announced that only those participating in the explanatory session slated for today will be eligible to participate in the FX-III, the third and final phase of the multi-billion dollar fighter jet procurement program.

The state-run arms procurement agency made it clear that the request for proposal (RFP) detailing the FX-III requirements will only be distributed to participants of the explanatory session.

Officials at the Trade Representation of the Russian Federation in Korea acknowledged that Sukhoi has pulled out of the race, considering that the aircraft manufacturer had not sought Moscow’s approval, nor his agency’s help to participate in the fighter bid.

“Both the Russian government and its trade delegations here have yet to receive any proposal from any Russian aviation companies,” a senior trade representative from Russia said.

Sukhoi lost in the FX-I bid, the first phase of Korea’s fighter program in the early 2000s, due largely to concerns over the interoperability of its proposed SU-35 fighters with the Air Force’s existing fleet of American aircraft.

The Russian aerospace firm refrained from making any official comment over the possibility of competing in the FX-III, through which Korea wants to purchase 60 high-end aircraft with stealth capability in October this year.

Meanwhile, Shin Myung-ho, a representative from Saab, confirmed his company has yet to make a decision on whether to compete with the two U.S. defense giants and the European consortium.

“To my understanding, Saab will discuss possible participation in FX-III after receiving the RFP,” he said. “It will, however, take a while before Saab makes any official announcement about its next move on Korea’s jet acquisition bid.”

Korea has purchased 60 F-15s from Boeing, which won both the FX-I and II projects in 2002 and 2008.

Seoul plans to receive proposals from the four possible bidders, for the FX-III project by June 18 and carry out testing and evaluations until September before selecting the winner in October.

Seoul eliminated two key compulsory requirements initially set for FX-III in an attempt to allow more companies to enter the competition for the nation’s largest-ever arms deal.
관련 한글 기사

러시아, 한국 FX사업 입찰포기

수호이사의 T-50 PAK-FA를 내세워 한국 차세대전투기 3차 사업(FX-3)에 도전장을 낼 것으로 알려졌던 러시아가 입찰을 포기했다고 복수의 관계자들이 밝혔다.

방사청 관계자들에 의하면 FX-3차 사업에 참여를 하기 위해서는 “국가를 당사자로 하는 계약에 관한 법률 시행령 제43조에 따라” 30일(월요일) 열리는 사업 설명회를 반드시 참가해야 하는데 어떠한 러시아 회사도 참가신청을 하지 않았다.

FX-3차 사업을 담당해 왔던 주한 러시아무역대표부 관계자들에 따르면 수호이사가 FX-3차 사업에 참여하기 위해서는 러시아 정부의 승인을 사전에 받았어야 하는데 이러한 절차를 사업설명회 참가신청 마감 날이었던 지난 금요일까지도 밟지 않았다고 밝혔다.

방사청은 월요일 사업설명회에 참가하는 업체와 정부 관계자에 한하여 제안요청서(RFP)를 배부할 방침이다.

한편, 스웨덴 사브사가 그리펜NG 전투기를 기반으로 일찍이 FX 3차 사업에 출사표를 던진 미국의 록히드마틴과 보잉, 유럽 컨소시엄인 EADS사와 경합을 펼칠게 될지도 모르는 변수가 생겼다.

사브 관계자 한 명이 사업설명회에 참가 신청을 했기 때문이다.

하지만 이에 대해 사업설명회 참가신청서를 낼 사브 관계자는 한국 FX 3차 사업에 사브사가 참여를 한다고 결론을 내리는 것은 아직 섣부르다 전했다.

사브가 사업설명회를 참가하는 목적은 아직까지는 입찰의 참여라기보다는 한국의 제안요청서를 입수, 사업참여 타당성을 검토 하기 위한 것으로 알려져 있다.

또한 FX-3차 사업에 대한 사브사의 공식 입장이 나오기까지는 앞으로 많은 내부논의가 필요할 것이라고 관계자들은 전했다.

이에 대해 방사청 관계자들 사브사가 내세우는 그리펜NG 전투기기는 타 경쟁사에 비해 공군의 작전요구성능 (ROC)에 한참 못 미치는 것으로 판단되어 사업 참여 여부에 대해 큰 의미를 두고 있지 않다고 밝혔다.

방사청은 6월 18일까지 제안요청서를 받고 협상 및 시험평가 등을 거쳐 10월쯤 최종 기종을 선정할 계획이다.

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