The position of the Russian aircraft construction industry have recently changed for the worse. PRAVDA.Ru has already reported that the Russian company Kamov lost the tender for Ka-52 helicopter supplies to Turkey. One more project can be added to the list of failures now.
The South Korean leadership excluded Russia’s Sukhoi aircraft military and industrial complex from the tender for fighters supplies on March 27. Eurofighter, a European jet fighter was excluded from the tender as well. Thus, no Sukhoi Su-35 or Eurofighter Typhoon fighters will appear in the Korean sky. Dasse’s Rafale (France) and Boeing’s F-15K (the USA) are more likely to be supplied to South Korea. Experts consider that the US corporation will be preferred. It is quite natural, as the supply of 40 fighters to the sum of $3.2 billion is planned. The money will come in really handy for Boeing, which suffered great losses after the Sept.11 terror attacks. Other participants of the tender consider contracts with South Korea to be very important as well.
Certainly, the tender conditions do not seem to be equal for all participants. France’s Rafale is more likely to be excluded from the tender, the way the Russian and European companies have been. Indeed, the USA is a strategic partner and reliable ally for South Korea. So, no fair competition again.
There is one more interesting detail. The F-15K is not a new generation fighter, and it was first used during the war in Vietnam. The fighter has been certainly upgraded several times since that time. At the same time, the US’s rivals presented modern, up-to-date fighters. Boeing must have been so sure of the victory, that it didn't even make efforts to present some new developments to the tender.
Let us leave the problem for the USA and South Korea. If Korean pilots like to aviate out-of-date planes, let them do it. The struggle for the tender has revealed that US allies experience great pressure from the US political leadership and American companies as well. At the same time, the USA likes talking about fair competition so much. However, it forgets the fair competition rules as soon as it comes to a definite lucre.
US rivals, especially those in the armament market, are to remember better the strict line used at tenders. The rivals may also stick to such a policy, otherwise non-American companies will be soon forced out of the market altogether.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/03/27/38864.html