South Korea said Tuesday three foreign firms were bidding for an early warning project to detect North Korean ballistic missiles. Elta Group of Israel, a Netherlands-based unit of France's Thales Group and Raytheon of the United States submitted bids by the May 18 deadline, the Defence Acquisition Programme Administration said in a statement.
The winner would be announced by the end of the year, the state-run agency said without elaborating.
The Ballistic Missile Early Warning Systems could cost up to 80 million dollars, Yonhap news agency said. Its advanced radar systems aim to detect ballistic missiles launched as far as 500 kilometres (310 miles) away. Seoul hopes to deploy the radar by 2012 in time for the completion of its missile defence system against the North, it said.
South Korea is increasingly concerned about North Korea's ballistic missiles.
On April 5 the communist state fired a long-range rocket in what was seen overseas as a test of a Taepodong-2 ballistic missile. Pyongyang claims it put a satellite into orbit.
Apart from long-range missiles, North Korea has some 800 shorter-range Scuds and Rodongs which could target all of South Korea and parts of Japan.