United States, Israel Vie to Sell Early Warning Planes to South Korea

A Korean defense ministry envoy is currently in Israel discussing the deal, worth more than $1 billion.

Yossi Melman
Haaretz Correspondent
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Yossi Melman
Haaretz Correspondent

The United States and Israel have been exchanging frosty words as the countries compete to sell South Korea an early warning aircraft (EWA).

A Korean defense ministry delegation, headed by the deputy defense minister in charge of acquisitions, is presently in Israel to discuss the deal, which would be worth more than $1 billion.

The South Korean air force is expected to make its decision in about two weeks. Although both Israel and South Korea describe the visit as routine, one of the main issues the mission will discuss is the purchase of the EWA.

The American administration is steamrolling Korea to give the project to American companies. The American pressure derives, among other things, from the attractive Israeli offer, which is $300 million to $400 million cheaper.

The proposal made by Israel Aircraft Industries and Elta Systems, based on the American-made Gulfstream Aerospace aircraft, is to supply four planes for $1.2 billion. The American proposal is estimated at $1.5 billion to $2 billion and is based on Boeing's Artificial Intelligence Voice Address System (AIVAS) aircraft

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