Philippines Ditches S.Korean Chopper Plans

  • By Yang Seung-sik

    January 07, 2019 13:32

    Korea's hopes of selling its first homegrown helicopter, the Surion, to the Philippines have finally crumbled to dust.

    "The Philippine government has recently told our embassy in Manila of its decision to buy the U.S.' UH-60 Blackhawk," an official with the Defense Acquisition Program Administration said Friday.

    Korea Aerospace Industries and DAPA had thrown all their efforts into selling W250 billion worth of Surions to the Philippines last year (US$1=W1,124). The Defense Ministry put a Surion on display in its compound in Yongsan, Seoul during Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's visit in June last year.

    But the Blackhawk scored better on safety, and the U.S. offered to sell Manila 16 Blackhawks for the same price as 10 Surions.

    That means KAI's massive arms sales plans from last year have all gone awry. Earlier, KAI took part in bidding for a U.S. Air Force T-X trainer project worth W18 trillion in a consortium with Lockheed Martin and also lost out.

    The Korean defense industry had its worst year last year, and prospects look gloomy. A W3-trillion air defense missile project in India has become more competitive now that Russia has joined the bidding at the last moment.

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