SEOUL: European aerospace giant Airbus won a $1.33 billion deal Tuesday to supply air refuelling tankers to South Korea, beating US rival Boeing, a state agency said.
Under the 1.488 trillion won deal, Airbus Defence and Space will supply four A330 MRTT aircraft by 2019 to South Korea’s air force, said the military’s procurement agency.
The Airbus model was selected over Boeing’s KC-46A, it said.
South Korea’s military procurement needs, especially where the air force is concerned, have overwhelmingly been met by US suppliers in the past — a reflection of their close military alliance.
But European companies led by Airbus have also secured a series of military contracts.
In 2005, Airbus Helicopters won a contract for transport choppers called “Surion” in partnership with Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). South Korea unveiled the first Surion helicopter in 2009.
In March this year, Airbus Helicopters inked a deal worth 1.5 billion euros ($1.6 billion) to build more than 300 civil and military helicopters for South Korea also in partnership with KAI.
The March deal is part of a South Korean military project to replace its ageing fleet of McDonnell Douglas’ 500MD light helicopters, which have been in service for decades.