Golden Eagle loses out to the Master

After a long bidding war to replace Israel’s aging A-4 Skyhawks, the Israelis have gone with 30 Italian M-346 Master training jets over Korea’s T-50 Golden Eagle. The deal is valued at $1 billion –with the caveat that Italy will purchase about $1 billion worth of goods from Israel’s defense industries.

Korea had also agreed to make reciprocal purchases, but the Israeli ministry said they were much less generous than the Italian offer. And the Italian plane is reportedly cheaper to maintain.

According to Haaretz, the Golden Eagle sales team thought the bidding process was unfair from the get-go.

…they repeatedly charged that the tender was rigged, and that Israel preferred the M-346 mainly due to the close ties between Jerusalem and Italy’s Berlusconi government – though Berlusconi and his cabinet were ousted in November. They reiterated these charges during meetings last week with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and his ministry’s director general, Udi Shani, at an air show in Singapore.

There is always a lot of greasing that goes on in these deals from all bidders, but I don’t know if getting up in the defense minister’s face was a good idea.

The Defense Ministry insists that the choice was based mainly on the relative capabilities of the planes, including reports by Israeli pilots on dozens of test flights of both models.

A tough loss for the Golden Eagle as it tries to land some big contracts. Look for high level Israel officials making visits to Seoul in the near future to smooth ruffled feathers.

  • setnaffa

    Maybe related to sales of Korean weapontech to Israel’s neighbors?

  • Year of the Dragon

    Italy and Europe need cash at the moment, so it was the best choice Israel could make.

    If Korea stopped trying to keep it’s won at a low, and started playing fair instead of sending NIS agents into Ambassadors hotel rooms to steal secrets, and started building quality products instead of making “bali, bali” products that malfunction after a year or two, maybe they might do better.

    and where the Hell is the Open thread!

  • Lliane

    What are they gonna do ? Call the Mediterranea the Sea of Palestiania ?

    Oh shit, that’s something they could do

  • redwhitedude

    Maybe this is also because of Korea’s dealing with Turkey and Israel’s strained relations with the turks.

  • enomoseki

    And yet, they would happily sell their weapons to Korea.


  • Year of the Dragon

    Maybe this is also because of Korea’s dealing with Turkey and Israel’s strained relations with the turks.

    I am HIGHLY ashamed of what Korea is doing in Turkey, sending in Hyundai, Samsung, LG to establish everything in Turkey and the fact that Korea is going to build a Nuclear Power plant there is terrible.

    Turkey is on a major Earthquake zone, and the fact that Japan suffered last year due to Nuclear Power plants and earthquakes and also Turkey had bad earthquakes last year – only a race of people with no shame or no conscious would go in there and build a Nuclear Power plant in Turkeys earthquake zone.

  • CactusMcHarris
  • WangKon936

    Well, at the end of the day the M-346 is more like the A-4 than the Golden Eagle, which is more like an F-16 lite.

  • Pingback: Quest for the T-X Holy Grail()