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South Korea rejects Boeing in warplane purchase project

The Boeing F-15 Silent Eagle. The Boeing F-15 Silent Eagle.

   SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea says it has rejected Boeing Co.'s bid to build and supply 60 new fighter jets — even though it was the sole contender in the bidding process.

   Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said Tuesday that South Korea has decided to delay naming a winning bidder for the 8.3 trillion won ($7.7 billion) weapons purchase project.

   Boeing offered its F-15 Silent Eagle, but South Korean critics say the plane lacks state-of-the-art stealth capabilities and cannot effectively cope with North Korea's increasing nuclear threats.

   Kim says South Korea must have better air power and Boeing's rejection was made in consideration of North Korea's nuclear program and other factors.

   Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and EADS' Eurofighter Typhoon earlier competed with Boeing but were eliminated for exceeding Seoul's budget cap.

   The F-15s would have been built at Boeing's St. Louis plant.

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