South Korea launches Light Armed Helicopter first prototype assembly

World Aviation Defense & Security News - South Korea
South Korea launches Light Armed Helicopter first prototype assembly
According to the local news agency Yonhap, South Korea said Tuesday it has started to assemble the first prototype of a light armed helicopter with the goal of conducting a test flight in 2019. The country's Defense Acquisition Program Administration, the country's arms procurement agency, launched the development project in June 2015 to replace the aging 500MD and AH-1S choppers in partnership with Korea Aerospace Industries.
South Korea's future Light Armed Helicopter mock up
(Credit: KAI)
A preliminary design was completed in August last year and the production of prototype components began in November, according to DAPA. A critical design review is slated for October this year.

The LAH is in development in connection with a light civil helicopter for synergy between the two models to share a lot of parts, the agency said.

KAI, a local defense firm, aims to sell 1,000 LAH and LCH products at home and abroad, creating economic effects worth around $20 billion.

Designed for substituting for Korea's old and superannuated 500 MDs and AH-1Ss, attack helicopters, the LAH project is being driven by the DAPA.

The Korean military fixed a plan for deploying and operating the high-class attack helicopter and the low-class armed helicopter as its army aviation aircraft in order to reinforce Korea's aviation strength in 2009 and has since driven development of a Korean-made LAH.

Intending to make use of the civil and military parts which were acquired via the development of the LCH, KAI plans to secure its armed and fire control system ability of the LAH through international technology cooperation, scheduled for completion by 2022.

Both the LCH and LAH will be based on Airbus Helicopters’ H155 (formerly known as the EC155) – the latest evolution of its best-selling Dauphin family, which includes the Panther military and parapublic variants that have demonstrated their capabilities in operation around the world.

As part of the new commitment, Airbus Helicopters will transfer the company’s technical know-how – as already demonstrated in the Surion program – to ensure Korea is able to develop its newest indigenous products, which will become leading next-generation light rotorcraft in the 5 metric ton weight category.

(Source: Yonhap)