Korea's Weapons Procurement Dominated by US Firms
(Source : Korean Information Service ; issued Sept. 24, 2001)
Weapons and associated equipment by the "Big Three" U.S. defense contractors accounted for half of all foreign military procurements made by the Korean government, a lawmaker of the ruling Millennium Democratic Party claimed on Monday (Sept. 24).
Rep. Jang Sung-min said that based on information compiled by the Defense Ministry, 31 percent, or 1.27 trillion won worth of all contracts awarded by Korea's military to foreign defense firms from 1998 to last year, were with Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Ratheon.
Jang, who is affiliated with the parliament's Unification-Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee, added that since most equipment being brought into the country through foreign military sales were from the United States, the percentage of American weapons should exceed 48 percent of all imports in the defense sector.
The amount of foreign weapons bought during the past three years topped W4.15 trillion.
Jang said such a concentration on a few companies was excessive, and ran counter to Korea's efforts to diversify foreign arms procurement sources.
He also predicted that with the pending decision by the Defense Ministry to select the winner for the next-generation F-X fighter project, the country's dependence on U.S. weapons might grow even further.
The long-sought F-X project, worth an estimated 4 trillion won, is seen as a race between Boeing's F-15E Eagle and French Dassault's Rafale.