SEOUL, April 4 South Korea is to buy Taurus
bunker-busting air-to-ground long range missiles for its F-15K
strike fighters in a move to boost its strike power amid rising
tensions with North Korea, its defence minister told a
parliamentary committee on Thursday.
The decision to pick a European supplier is due to
Washington's unwillingness to supply Seoul's first choice
missile, the U.S. made JASSM, a person familiar with the plans
later told Reuters and is a rare decision for a military that
primarily picks U.S.-made equipment.
The decision comes as South Korea is getting ready to award
a tender for 60 fighter jets, in a competition between Lockheed
Martin's Corp's > F-35 stealth fighter, Boeing Co's
F-15 Silent Eagle as well as Europe's Eurofighter, made
"We intend to choose the Taurus missiles and integrate them,"
Kim Kwan-jin at a parliamentary meeting of the defences
"U.S. missiles were one of the options we were considering,
but because it is difficult for them to be sold to Korea, the
only option we have is the Taurus," Kim added.
South Korea has expressed interest in the Lockheed Martin
the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSMs) since 2008.
The missiles picked are made by TAURUS Systems GmbH, a
partnership between a German subsidiary of the European
Aeronautic Defence and Space Company and Sweden's Saab
Bofors Dynamics, making this the first time South Korea buys a
strategic strike weapon from a non-U.S. supplier.
Local media reported that South Korea was looking to buy 200
of the missiles. The country's defence acquisition agency
declined to comment on the number of missiles as the information