(Corrects billion won to trillion won in first paragraph)
SEOUL, April 17 South Korea said on Wednesday it
would buy attack helicopters worth 1.8 trillion won ($1.6
billion) from Boeing Co. to improve its ability to
respond to threats from North Korea.
The decision to buy the new helicopters was initiated before
tension between North and South Korea rose sharply after North
Korea's third nuclear test in February.
Boeing's AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters beat the AH-1Z
Viper built by Bell Helicopter, a unit of Textron Inc,
and the T-129 of Turkish Aerospace Industries, an official at
the Korea Defence Acquisition Programme Administration said.
"Apache's engine capability and weapons load, as well as the
improved capability of target acquisition were given higher
ratings," the official told reporters.
The officials at the briefing declined to say how many
helicopters were involved, but one official told Reuters the
deal was for 36 aircraft.
South Korea is also seeking 60 fighter jets this year.
For that deal, the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 stealth
fighter and Boeing's F-15 Silent Eagle fighter are in
competition with the Eurofighter Typhoon, developed by a
consortium of EADS, Finmeccanica SpA and BAE
($1 = 1115.0750 Korean won)
(Reporting by Jack Kim and Ju-min Park; Editing by Robert
Birsel and Miral Fahmy)