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$4.7-Billion Fighter Jet Sale to S. Korea Set

From Reuters

The United States today announced a $4.7-billion sale of fighter jets and engines to South Korea under which Seoul will buy and co-produce 120 McDonnell Douglas Corp. FA-18 jets.

The deal, which also includes General Electric jet engines, has been under consideration for two years. It is a major victory for McDonnell Douglas after its jet was chosen by Korea over the F-16 built by General Dynamics Corp.

The Pentagon said the deal will be worth at least $3.2 billion to McDonnell Douglas, with about $500 million going to General Electric for 24 F-404 spare engines and other equipment. Commercial contracts for assembly and other items will bring the total to $4.7 billion.

The Pentagon said the Bush Administration informed Congress of the deal late Thursday. It is expected to become official in 30 days without objection from lawmakers.

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Under the deal, South Korea will buy 12 FA-18s, which are designed to battle other fighter aircraft and to attack ground targets. Another 36 aircraft kits will be shipped to South Korea for assembly, and the final 72 planes will be built under license in Korea using U.S.-made components.

The Pentagon said South Korea will buy and produce the jets over a period of several years to modernize and strengthen its armed forces. They will replace aging U.S.-built F-4 and F-5 aircraft used by the South Korean air force.


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