|Winner, winner, kimchi dinner.|
After eliminating the F-35 from South Korea's FX fighter competition, Seoul has now disqualified the Eurofighter Typhoon from the process as well. Although EADS Typhoon bid came under the 8.3 trillion won ($7.2 billion US) budget, it did so by reducing the requested amount of two-seat fighter from 15 to 6, as well as basing prices on the British pound. (S. Korea's insistence on 15 two-seat fighters begs the question of why the single-seat only F-35 was even considered).
So what can Canada learn from South Korea's FX selection?
The main reason the F-35 was disqualified was because Lockheed Martin could not offer a fixed price based on the US government's foreign military sales regulations. By American law, no foreign country can acquire US made military hardware for less than what it costs the US military. Since the F-35 is still in development, final pricing is still unknown.
Also, since the F-35's price will be determined by the total amount of orders it receives, its disqualification from S. Korea's FX competition will result in higher costs, since expected orders from Korea now have to be written off.
The Eurofighter's "almost-but-not-quite" bid should be considered as well. Since Canada is more than happy to order 65 single seat F-35s for an estimated $9 billion ($138 million/plane), getting a fixed price of $7.2 billion for 54 single seat and 6 two seat Typhoons ($120 million/plane) seems like a relative bargain.
|Should Canada take a closer look at the Silent Eagle?|
Should Canada consider the F-15SE Silent Eagle? It would seem as if the price is right, and with S. Korea signing on, some of the risk of ordering the platform is mitigated. The Silent Eagle would certainly have the range, speed, and firepower needed for Canada's needs, and it offers enough interoperability to work alongside our allies without too much worry.
Either way, South Korea's decision cannot be considered good news for the F-35.