S.Korea temporarily suspends $7.3 bln fighter jet bidding - media

SEOUL, July 6 Sat Jul 6, 2013 12:34am EDT

SEOUL, July 6 (Reuters) - South Korea has temporarily suspended bidding on a $7.3 billion (8.3 trillion won) fighter jet project four days after reopening applications because of high-priced offers from three aviation manufacturers, Yonhap news agency reported on Saturday.

South Korea opened bidding on June 18 to purchase 60 next-generation fighter jets between 2017 and 2021, but bidders offered prices above Seoul's budget for its largest-ever arms import deal.

South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has received 55 separate price bids since the opening of tenders, Yonhap reported, citing DAPA officials.

Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35A, Boeing Co's F-15SE and EADS's Eurofighter Typhoon are in competition to win the fighter deal.

"There is a need to carefully check the bids placed so far before making a decision to move forward," said a DAPA official who declined to be identified, according to Yonhap.

The official also said the agency would decide soon whether to stop the bidding altogether or carry out additional bids for the project, known as F-X.

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