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Korea Aerospace Industries unveils prototype of light attack helicopter


On 18 December 2018, the prototype of South Korea's home-made light attack helicopter was unveiled by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) after years of development based on European technology. It will replace the current fleet of MD500s and 70 AH-1S Cobras.


Korea Aerospace Industries unveils prototype of light attack helicopter KAI's Light Attack Helicopter (Picture source: Korea Aerospace Industries)


As reported by Lim Chang-won on Aju Business Daily, it is the first light armed helicopter (LAH) developed by South Korea's sole aircraft maker, Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), to replace the old MD500s and 70 AH-1S Cobra attack helicopters. The prototype was shown in a ceremony Tuesday at KAI's headquarters in the southern city of Sacheon. "LAH is a major achievement in the domestic defense industry because it is a highly maneuverable helicopter with advanced navigation equipment," Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo-suk said in a speech. LAH is based on H-155, a twin-engine helicopter created by European aircraft maker Airbus.

Development, which began in June 2015, will be completed in late 2022.As reported by Lim Chang-won on Aju Business Daily, it is the first light armed helicopter (LAH) developed by South Korea's sole aircraft maker, Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), to replace the old MD500s and 70 AH-1S Cobra attack helicopters. The prototype was shown in a ceremony Tuesday at KAI's headquarters in the southern city of Sacheon. "LAH is a major achievement in the domestic defense industry because it is a highly maneuverable helicopter with advanced navigation equipment," Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo-suk said in a speech. LAH is based on H-155, a twin-engine helicopter created by European aircraft maker Airbus. Development, which began in June 2015, will be completed in late 2022.

The LAH carrying a 20mm machine gun and four anti-tank missiles or 70mm rocket pods has the maximum takeoff weight of 4.9 tons. It is capable of flying at the maximum speed of 324 kilometers (201 miles) per hour. Some experts have argued that the LAH is an outdated model. KAI plans to attach "Cheongeom", a home-made air-to-ground missile that would replace TOW anti-tank missiles. The precision missile is scheduled for production in 2023.