SEOUL --- South Korea will soon invite foreign bidders to supply advanced naval anti-submarine warfare choppers, the state arms agency said Monday.
A government committee on weapons acquisition decided to give a public notice of the bid "around May" to decide a preferred bidder through a "comprehensive assessment" of capabilities, costs and other elements, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).
The Navy wants to introduce 12 helicopters by 2022 in a 780-million-dollar project.
"Once maritime operation helicopters are introduced additionally, the Navy's multi-dimensional operation capabilities are expected to improve, including anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare," the DAPA said.
An AW-159 Wildcat helicopter of the South Korean Navy takes part in an anti-submarine exercise in the Yellow Sea in this file photo provided by the Navy. (Yonhap) An AW-159 Wildcat helicopter of the South Korean Navy takes part in an anti-submarine exercise in the Yellow Sea in this file photo provided by the Navy. (Yonhap)
South Korea has already bought eight AW-159 shipborne anti-submarine helicopters, also known as Wildcats.
Leonardo Helicopters, the manufacturer of the AW-159, hopes for a repeat order. Other candidate models include Sikorsky's MH-60R and NHIndustries' NH-90.
The DAPA also said it plans to pick a defense firm for a contract to mass-produce the Navy's 230-ton high-speed vessel, code-named Gumdoksuri-B or Patrol-boat Killer Medium Rocket (PKMR), to replace the aged PKM fleet. The contract is due in the first half of 2020.
The PKMR's Batch-I ships are in production and the planned contract is for the Batch-II ones.
On the program to introduce additional Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) guided interceptor rockets, the agency said it plans to ink a deal with the U.S. government this year in the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) process.