Airbus, KAI to build light armed helicopter for South Korea


Dec 5, 2014
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James Hardy, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
16 March 2015

Airbus Helicopters and KAI are to build a LAH for the South Korean armed forces based on the H155 platform. Source: Airbus Helicopters

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has selected Airbus Helicopters to jointly develop a light attack helicopter, it was announced on 16 March.

The Light Armed Helicopter (LAH) requirement for about 200 5-ton platforms to replace the Republic of Korea Army's (RoKA's) ageing Hughes MD 500MD/ BGM-71 TOW Defender and Bell AH-1S Cobra helicopters has been in the cards for a number of years.

It received a boost in July 2014 when the Defense Acquisition Program Administration announced that KAI had been selected to develop a light civil helicopter (LCH) and undertake system development of the LAH.

The LCH and LAH will be based on EC155 Dauphin (now known as the H155), Airbus Helicopters said in the 16 March statement. The LCH is expected to enter service in 2020 while the two companies are targeting an in-service date of 2022 for the LAH, the statement added.

No details on contract amounts were released, but Yonhap news agency previously reported that it would cost KRW1 trillion (USD877 million), with about KRW350 billion provided by the government, KRW400 billion from Airbus, and the rest from KAI and other South Korean investors.

Airbus Helicopters was selected from a number of potential international partners that also included AgustaWestland, Bell, and Sikorsky.
Airbus, KAI to build light armed helicopter for South Korea - IHS Jane's 360