July 18, 2000
Korea to open bidding for $1.8 bln helicopter deal
SEOUL, South Korea ( Reuters ) -
South Korea will accept bids this week for an attack helicopter supply contract worth up to 2 trillion won ($1.8 billion), Seoul's Ministry of National Defence said on Tuesday.
The AH-X project calls for an attack helicopter capable of a cruising speed of at least 240 km per hour with state-of-the-art weapons and navigational equipment to be put into service in 2005.
The ministry said bidding opens on July 20, screening will begin in September and a winning supplier will be named by next June.
A ministry official said it invited international firms to consider bidding in March and expects five to present proposals on Thursday: Boeing Co, United Technologies Corp's Sikorsky Aircraft Corp, Textron unit Bell Helicopter, Russia's Kamov and Mil Moscow.
The ministry said the exact number of helicopters to be purchased would depend on the unit cost of the model or models chosen.
South Korea remains technically at war with communist North Korea as their 1950-53 war ended in an armed truce and not a peace agreement.
There was thawing in relations between the two neighbours after the historic visit between South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in mid-June.
Some 37,000 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea.
Note: (US$ equals 1,113.6 won)