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S. Korea to buy 20 maritime patrol aircraft

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The South Korean military has approved a plan to buy 20 maritime patrol aircraft to improve the Navy’s surveillance capabilities of North Korea, a military source said Sunday, May 26, 2013.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff has recently approved the Navy’s request to add 20 maritime patrol aircraft to supplement the aging squadron of 16 Lockheed Martin P-3C Orions.

“The Defense Acquisition Program Administration is currently working on a plan, which is likely to be an overseas purchase program,” the source said, asking for anonymity as it is not yet open to the public. The budget for the project is estimated at $889 million.

Among the potential candidates are Airbus Military’s C-295 MPA, Boeing’s P-8 Poseidon, Lockheed Martin’s SC-130J Sea Hercules, according to officials.

The U.S. Navy has recently received the seventh production of Boeing’s P-8 Poseidon to replace its P-3Cs.

Separately, a naval modernization program has been underway to upgrade P-3C’s radar and censor system by 2016.

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