SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - South Korea says it has rejected Boeing Co.'s bid to build and supply 60 new fighter jets - even though it was the sole contender in the bidding process.
Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said Tuesday that South Korea has decided to delay naming a winning bidder for the 8.3 trillion won ($7.7 billion) weapons purchase project.
Boeing offered its F-15 Silent Eagle, but South Korean critics say the plane lacks state-of-the-art stealth capabilities and cannot effectively cope with North Korea's increasing nuclear threats.
The F-15 production line is based in St. Louis. Boeing has approximately 15,000 employees in the St. Louis region, which includes St. Clair, St. Charles and St. Louis facilities, a Boeing spokesperson said.
Kim says South Korea must have better air power and Boeing's rejection was made in consideration of North Korea's nuclear program and other factors.
Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and EADS' Eurofighter Typhoon earlier competed with Boeing but were eliminated for exceeding Seoul's budget cap.
Here's a statement from Boeing:
"Boeing is deeply disappointed by the Republic of Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Executive Committee decision. Boeing has rigorously followed the Defense Acquisition Program Administration's instructions throughout the entire process. We await details from DAPA on its basis for the delay while evaluating our next options."
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