The Defense Acquisition Program Administration will recommend the Boeing F-15SE fighter as the only candidate for the F-X next-generation fighter procurement project, it said Friday.
DAPA told President Park Geun-hye it will submit the recommendation to the Defense Project Promotion Committee when it meets after the Chuseok holidays.
The decision comes after retired Air Force chiefs pleaded with the government to reconsider and not simply pick the F-15SE because it is the cheapest, since its performance is also poor.
But DAPA claimed the decision was the result of a comprehensive review of the F-X project worth W8.3 trillion (US$1=W1,087).
The two other candidate models exceeded the budget.
Park reportedly left the matter to Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin.
The ex-Air Force chiefs had insisted that the aircraft's stealth capacity should be the government’s foremost concern regardless of price.
But officials worry that reconsidering the long-delayed project yet again while trying to boost the budget would leave a defense vacuum.
China and Japan "are introducing or developing their own stealth aircraft. But stealth aircraft aren't all-powerful. We expect radar capable of detecting stealth aircraft to be developed in a few years," a high-level military source said.