South Korean Domestically Manufactured Helicopters | World Defense

South Korean Domestically Manufactured Helicopters

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S. Korea's Marine Corps gets first multirole choppers

SEOUL, Jan. 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's Marine Corps received the first two multirole helicopters from the country's arms agency Wednesday, moving a step toward its aim of creating an independent aviation unit.

The MUH-1s, the Marine version of the KUH-1 Surion developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), represent the first major aircraft possessed by the 28,800-strong troops since they were integrated into the Navy in 1973.

The Marine Corps has since relied on the assets of the Navy, the Army and the Air Force to transport its service members and equipment.

The MUH-1 has been nicknamed Marineon, a combination of the words Marine and Surion.

They will be used for various missions, including the defense of strategic islands, rapid response and humanitarian operations, said the unit.

It has already trained 40 pilots and 40 maintenance staff members amid efforts to introduce attack choppers and launch a Marine Corps aviation team in 2021.

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South Korean Marine Corps' MUH-1 multirole helicopters in a photo provided by the unit (Yonhap)

"We have gained a new pair of wings again after 45 years amid the people's trust and expectations," Marine Corps Commandant Lt. Gen. Jun Jin-goo said at the delivery ceremony held at the 1st Division in Pohang, attended by more than 100 other dignitaries.

He added it will help the Marine Corps beef up its operation capabilities, not only on the ground but also in the air.

The 19-meter-long, 3.5-meter-wide MUH-1 can carry up to nine troops, flying for more than three hours with a supplementary fuel tank installed.

http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2018/01/10/0401000000AEN20180110001500315.html
 

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KAI Night Intruder 600 VT takes off
Dae Young Kim, Seoul and Kelvin Wong, Singapore

04 October 2019

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KAI’s Night Intruder 600 VT VTOL UAV performed its first flight at the Goheung Aerospace Center in South Jeolla province. Source: KAI


Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) announced that the Night Intruder 600 VT vertical take-off and landing unmanned aerial vehicle (VTOL UAV) had successfully performed its maiden flight in South Jeolla province on 24 September.

The air vehicle is an internally funded development derived from a 600 kg-class two-seat light helicopter and is the company's first attempt at developing a VTOL UAV.

KAI officials earlier told Jane's that the Night Intruder 600 VT has an overall length of 9 m, width of 2 m, and height of 2.5 m. Although configured with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 600 kg, future development could see the air vehicle grow to over 750 kg as the programme matures.
Development of the Night Intruder 600 VT began in 2017 and it was exhibited for the first time in public at the DX Korea exhibition in November 2018. KAI then acquired a Special Airworthiness Certificate from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport in July and a flight permit from Busan Regional Aviation Administration in August in accordance with Aviation Safety Act to pave the way for its maiden flight.

KAI is aiming to complete the first-phase development of the air vehicle by the end of the year. Further work to advance its automatic take-off and landing system is expected to begin imminently in the second developmental phase.

Jane's earlier reported that the air vehicle is typically equipped with a chin-mounted stabilised electro-optical infrared (EO/IR) turret with high-definition daylight and thermal cameras. Other mission payloads being planned include a laser rangefinder or designator, as well as a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) system.

The company is intending to pitch the Night Intruder 600 VT to meet a forthcoming Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) VTOL UAV requirement.
 

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See KAI unveil a new export version of the Surion helo, following a fatal crash last year
October 17, 2019

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The heavily armed variant of the KUH-1 utility helicopter built by Korea Aerospace Industries was on display at the 2019 ADEX defense trade show. (Jeff Jeong/Staff)

SEOUL — After a potential helicopter deal in the Philippines fell from its reach, Korea Aerospace Industries has presented a new concept of its KUH-1 utility helicopter’s heavily armed version for the international market.

The KUH-1E, an export variant of the troop-carrying Surion helicopter, was unveiled at the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition, or ADEX, which is taking place Oct. 15-20.

“The KUH-1E has been in development for four years to meet the requirements of foreign customer nations,” Kim Ji-hyung, spokesman for KAI, told Defense News. “Not every country [can] afford both utility helicopters and attack helicopters. For those customers, the KUH-1E is expected to be an optimal solution.”

The South Korean company did not reveal specific target customers, but indicated the armed helicopter would be able to compete in the markets of Southeast Asia, South America and Africa.

Industry sources point to Indonesia as one of the KUH-1E targets, as the Southeast Asian nation has a requirement for 100 medium-lift helicopters and is a key arms trade partner of South Korea.

The KUH-1E mock-up on display features a weapons mount equipped with rockets, missiles and a gun pod. Stub wings mounted forward of the door can carry either Hellfire or Spike anti-tank missiles; pods for domestically built 2.75-inch rockets; and infrared-homing air-to-air missiles.

The attack version is also fitted with the Garmin G3000, a large touch-screen, glass-integrated avionics system. It can also be equipped with TACS II, the newest version of traffic collision avoidance systems. The helicopter’s nose features a three-dimensional weather radar, according to KAI. The helicopter has a maximum takeoff weight of 8,709 kilograms.
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Last year, the Philippines showed interest in buying a score of Surion helicopters as an alternative to a botched deal to procure 16 Bell EPI helicopters from Canada. But the government canceled its plan to purchase the South Korean helicopter, jointly built by Airbus Helicopters, after the fatal crash of an MUH-1, the marine variant of the Surion. Instead, the Philippines ordered Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.

“The competition for the Philippines Army was affected by the crash of an MUH-1, not because of the rotorcraft’s performances,” said a KAI source involved in the Surion export project, speaking on condition of anonymity. “As the reported defects and problems have been cleared, the Surion still has competitiveness in terms of price and performances.”

Amphibious pitch
KAI also displayed at ADEX a concept for a marine attack helicopter to compete against the Bell AH-1Z Viper for a deal with the South Korean Marine Corps, which wants to buy 24 attack helicopters for amphibious assault operations.

Powered by a twin turbo-shaft engine with 1,800-plus horsepower, the marine attack version is to be armed with Lockheed Martin’s AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missile; the Mistral ATAM air-to-air missile developed by MBDA; 2.75-inch non-guided/guided rockets; and the 20mm turret gun, according to KAI.

South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration issued a request for information early last year, but the agency hasn’t decided whether the helicopters will be purchased through a competition open to foreign offerings or only to locally developed bids.

Boeing is also vying for a contract with its AH-64 Apache model.

“The concept of the Marine Attack Helicopter on display showcases KAI will be able to meet the Marine Corps requirements,” said Kim, KAI’s spokesman. The company is conducting feasibility studies into Surion’s attack concepts.

Javier Ball, the international campaign manager for Asia at Bell, is confident the AH-1Z’s inherent shipborne operational capability will serve the Marine Corps well.

“Anybody can land on a ship, but leaving on a ship is where we think marinization comes into effect. That starts with the design of this aircraft,” Ball said in an interview with Defense News. “Aircraft designed to be operated on land can land on a ship, but they lose some capability when they try to operate aboard the ship.”

As the U.S. military and its regional allies put an emphasis on shipborne operations, the use of a common attack helicopter model for amphibious missions would benefit joint efforts, Ball added.

Light, armed and taking flight
In the meantime, a light, armed version of the Surion performed flight demonstrations during the show. Based on the Airbus H155, the Light Armed Helicopter, or LAH, is under development by KAI and Airbus Helicopters.

The LAH development is a parallel effort with the Light Civil Helicopter, or LCH. KAI plans to develop the 4.5-metric-ton LCH by 2021 and then modify it into the LAH by 2023.

KAI rolled out an LAH prototype in December, and the helo completed its maiden flight in July.

The LAH is armed with the turreted 20mm Gatling gun under its nose. The aircraft is also mounted with 70mm rockets, missile early warning systems, and laser/radar warning receivers.

KAI plans to build about 200 LAHs to replace Bell AH-1 Cobras and older MD 500 helicopters flown by the South Korean Army.
 

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Light Armed Helicopter (LAH) is based on the Airbus H155B1 (EC155), which is a modernized version of older AS365 Dauphin, and is being developed to replace the Republic of Korea Army's aging MD500 Defender helicopters..
KAI took over the manufacturing license for the model and is developing both military (LAH) and civil (LCH) models. Meanwhile, Airbus has shifted its focus to its latest H160 helicopter.
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South Korea chooses locally built marine helicopter over foreign offers

By: Brian Kim   1 day ago
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Korea Aerospace Industries is to develop and produce 24 armed variants of the Korea Utility Helicopter, dubbed Surion, for delivery as early as 2031. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

SEOUL — South Korea’s defense procurement agency has announced a plan to introduce locally built marine attack helicopters designed for amphibious assault and close-air support.

The decision was made during a Defense Acquisition Program Administration meeting presided over by Defense Minister Suh Wook on April 26. As a result, Korea Aerospace Industries, or KAI, the country’s only aircraft maker, is to develop and produce 24 armed variants of the Korea Utility Helicopter, dubbed Surion, for delivery as early as 2031.

KAI developed the Surion with the help of Airbus Helicopters, formerly known as Eurocopter, in 2012 under a partnership forged in 2006. KAI has since produced more than 200 Surion helicopters for the Army and developed modified variants for different services, such as ones for medical evacuation, amphibious operations and law enforcement.

The announcement will have slashed the hopes of foreign helicopter makers bidding for the $1.4 billion program. Among the foreign bidders were Bell Textron proposing its AH-1Z Viper; Boeing with the AH-64E Apache Guardian; Turkish Aerospace Industries offering the T129 ATAK; and Lockheed Martin subsidiary Sikorsky pitching the S-70i.

“The decision was made after a comprehensive review of the operational capability and efficiency of the new helicopter fleet, in line with the helicopter’s interoperability with the existing fleet of amphibious helicopters for marines, namely Marineon,” the DAPA said in a statement.

The latest study on the method of procuring marine attack helicopters suggested the acquisition of a domestically built platform would be more cost-effective than buying a foreign-made model, according to the agency.

System scalability was another key consideration in choosing the domestic platform, as the South Korean military has plans to add a manned-unmanned teaming system to its helicopter fleet.

“By introducing marine attack helicopters, Marines’ operational capability of amphibious assault [and] close-air support would be enhanced, particularly in the defense of the northwestern islands (near the inter-Korean maritime border),” the statement said, adding local production of helicopters would also contribute to job creation.

KAI displayed a concept for a marine attack helicopter variant in 2019. Powered by a twin turboshaft engine with 1,800-plus horsepower, the marine attack version is to be armed with Lockheed Martin’s AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missile; the Mistral ATAM air-to-air missile developed by MBDA; 2.75-inch nonguided and guided rockets; and the 20mm turret gun, according to KAI.

The helicopter is envisaged to be fitted with the nose-mounted electro-optical/infrared targeting and designation system primarily developed by Hanwha Systems for the South Korean Army’s future light attack helicopter. The crew would receive head-mounted displays and night vision goggles.

Still, there are lingering worries over the shipborne operational capability of KAI’s marine attack helicopter modified from the ground-based KUH-1 utility helicopter.

“What KAI has proposed is an armed helicopter, not an attack helicopter,” Shin In-kyun, head of the Korea Defense Network, a Seoul-based defense think tank, wrote in an article for a local magazine in February. “This type of helicopter gunship has poor performances compared to inherent attack helicopters like the AH-64E and AH-1Z, while there is little difference in price.”

Shin indicated the Surion has a wide cabin with side-by-side seat, which is vulnerable to enemy fire and can block the pilot’s view.
 
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