November 11, 2013 / 12:28 AM / 4 years ago

South Korea air force asks for stealthier jets; boosts F-35 chances

1 Min Read

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's air force has asked for enhanced stealth capability for fighter jets set to be purchased, a government source briefed on the matter said on Monday, further bolstering the chances of Lockheed Martin winning the tender with its F-35s.

In September, South Korea's government bowed to public pressure and voted down a bid by Boeing to supply 60 warplanes, saying it would restart the multi-billion tender process to get a more advanced, radar-evading fighter.

At the time, only Boeing's bid had come within budget.

The source said the air force's request will need to be approved at a meeting of the country's Joint Chiefs of Staff expected near the end of November before being finalized at a committee chaired by the defense minister.

The Eurofighter consortium is also bidding in the 8.3 trillion won ($7.8 billion) tender.

$1 = 1064.9500 Korean won Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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