The Defense Project Promotion Committee is expected to select the Boeing F-15SE as the Air Force's next-generation fighter model when it meets Tuesday.
The Defense Acquisition Program Administration, the agency in charge of the F-X fighter project, on Monday decided to recommend the F-15SE as the sole candidate to the committee.
"Under the budget guidelines for defense projects, it's impossible to cut a deal for any candidate model whose price exceeds the total budget" of less than W8.3 trillion for a total of 60 fighters, a DAPA official said.
"We're recommending the F-15SE because it's the only model that meets the price requirement."
DAPA already reported the decision to President Park Geun-hye on Sept. 13. A group of former Air Force chiefs later warned that price should not be the sole deciding factor given the F-15SE’s relatively poor performance.
But the government claims the differences are not as dramatic as the veterans say. "Despite some differences, all three candidate models met functional requirements and were thus judged fit for combat," a government source said. "The F-X project has so far been carried out fairly and by the book, so there is no reason for the committee on Tuesday to delay the selection process or review the project all over again."