South Korea is shopping for 60 new jet fighter planes. There were gonna buy the brand new F35. But the Boeing salesman have been active and for the last round of Korean competition, the trusty F15, which first flew in 1972, is in the competition. The Korean purchasing board has disqualified the F35 as being too expensive ($96 million), and disqualified the Eurofighter Typhoon for "bidding irregularities."
The purchasing commission decision will be reviewed by a top bracket committee chaired by the South Korean defense minister. Korean news media say that the Korean Air Force is unhappy, they wanted the newer F35, but the finance minister is holding firm on the budget which was $7.4 billion. Some explaining is due here, 60 F35's at $96 million apiece comes out to $5.7 billion, well with in a $7.4 budget. Either the $7.4 billion has to pay for a few things besides new fighters, or Lockheed Martin did a LOT of marking up.
The "bidding irregularities" is difficult to understand as well. The Koreans had agreed with Eurofighter to bid 45 single seaters and 15 twin seat models. The Korean's beef is that Eurofighter changed the deal to 54 single seat and only 6 single seat models, with out telling 'em. This was supposed to save money. Any salesman worth his salt would know that changing the customer's specs on a bid is suicide. I guess Eurofighter has a death wish. Granted 2 seaters are more expensive 'cause you have to build two cockpits, which costs twice as much as one cockpit, but when we a doing a deal for 60 planes, the extra cost is too small to jeopardize the deal.