Aerial Refueling Tanker Project Delayed

      November 24, 2014 12:50

      A project to procure aerial refueling aircraft worth W1.4 trillion will likely be delayed until around February next year because no acceptable offer is on the table yet (US$1=W1,114).

      The project aims to help fighter jets remain airborne longer and increase their weapon-carrying capacity.

      "It seems that the plan to choose the model in December will be delayed because offset deals offered by bidders fall short of our goal, although price negotiations have reached the final stage," an official with the Defense Acquisition Program Administration said Sunday.

      Offsets in defense trade involves compensation including technology transfer or supply of other equipment.

      The models on offer are Boeing's KC-46A, European Airbus' A330 MRTT, and Israeli IAI's 767 MMTT.

      Korea wants to take delivery of four aerial refueling aircraft between 2017 and 2019.

      The KC-46, a remodeled version of the civilian passenger aircraft B-767, can carry 96.1 tons of fuel and up to 114 personnel, but it is still under development with an eye to completion by 2017.

      The A330 MRTT is bigger and thus capable of carrying 111 tons of fuel on its wings and up to 266 personnel. Development is already complete, and six countries including the U.K. and Australia have decided to purchase it. But it is so big that some airports in Korea would likely have difficulty handling takeoffs and landings.

      The MMTT costs half as much as its rivals as it is a remodeled version of the decommissioned B-767. But the downside is that it is an elderly design.

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