Local media outlets were reporting in late May, 2018, that the Republic of Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) is considering proposals from Airbus Defence and Space, Boeing and Saab for its maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) requirements.
The Korea Times reported on May 15, 2018, that the DAPA wanted to sign a contract with the winner of the KRW 1.9 trillion competition, to provide the next generation maritime patrol aircraft by 2020.
Boeing and Saab have previously said that they would bid for the deal, offering the P-8A Poseidon and Global 6000-based Swordfish platforms respectively.
On May 17, 2018, during a press conference in Seoul, Airbus Defence and Space also declared its intention to participate in the MPA replacement programme. The European manufacturer’s proposal is based upon the C295 MPA platform. Brian Kim, head of sales for Airbus Korea Defence and Space, told local reporters: “Based on our understanding of Korea’s budget and requirements, Airbus will be able to offer up to 20 C295MPAs. A larger fleet results in more effective and persistent coverage and allows Korea to respond to any potential threats more quickly … The C295MPA is proven in service and is not just a concept aircraft. With its lower acquisition and operating costs, we estimate that operating a C295MPA will result in significant savings for the Republic of Korea.”
At the Singapore Air Show in February, Airbus Defence and Space announced a multimission variant of the commercial A320neo aircraft, which included an MPA-configured version, but the company said it would wait for a customer before it proceeded with a formal launch.
In late May, 2018, reports from Seoul suggested that a decision on whether to issue an open tender for a maritime patrol aircraft or to pursue a sole-source solution would be made in June 2018. Nigel Pittaway