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SOUTH KOREAN FIGHTER BID MOVES CLOSER TO FRUITION

19 Feb 02. South Koreas signed agreements with Boeing, France’s Dassault Aviation , Russia’s Sukhoi, and Eurofighter International, the firms bidding for $3.2bn worth of new fighter jets.South Korea is expected to make a final decision on which firm would win the contract in April.The signing of the provisional contracts coincided with the arrival in South Korea of President George W. Bush as part of a tour of Asia that includes stops in China and Japan.The South Korean defense ministry announced on Feb. 8 that it would choose a contractor to build 40 fighters worth about $3.2bn as part of an acquisition program that includes fighters, helicopters, missiles and surveillance systems.A spokesman said the ministry, which had rejected three earlier rounds of bids as too expensive, had decided to increase the money it would spend on the project, or drop some items on the buying list.

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