In 2014, the Republic of Korea issued a request for proposals on a next-generation, aerial refueling tanker. South Korea intends to acquire four aircraft for the country’s first tanker squadron and is currently considering three bids. While a decision was expected by the end of 2014, South Korea has postponed making an official selection by 12 months. The contract, carried out by South Korea’s Defense Acquisition and Program Administration, is worth approximately $1.3 billion USD. Entries from companies across the globe are being considered. Candidates include the KC-46 (developed by The Boeing Company
of the United States), the Airbus A330 MRTT (developed by European consortium Airbus Defence & Space), and lastly a converted Boeing 767-300ER tanker transport manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries.
Boeing’s KC-46A tanker was based on the company’s commercial 767 jetliner. This aircraft, dubbed Pegasus, was selected in 2011 as the designated aerial refueling tanker for the United States Air Force, replacing the aging fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers. The USAF will procure an anticipated 179 units of the KC-46A until 2027. In a statement to the press, the company believes that as the chosen tanker for the USAF, utilizing the Pegasus will provide the Korean fleet with a force multiplier, being able to integrate seamlessly with United States’ forces during joint operations. Airbus’s A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) offering is the only next-generation tanker already proven in combat. Introduced in 2011, the aircraft is based on the company’s civilian jetliner, A330. The tanker is currently deployed with forces of Australia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and France.
South Korea seeks aerial refueling aircraft in support of their fleet of fighter jets, which currently consists of Boeing F-15K strike aircraft
, Lockheed Martin F-16Cs, Korea Aerospace Industries TA-50s, and the pending F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighters. Bidding is anticipated for completion in April of 2015 and the country’s refueling fleet is expected to be operational in 2018, with two deployed in 2018 and two in 2019. Via our proprietary website ASAP AOG Services
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