Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. (KAI), South Korea’s sole aircraft maker, said Friday it will join forces with Europe’s Airbus Helicopters to develop its Surion chopper to carry out maritime operations.
A senior official at Airbus Helicopters told reporters in Paris that the two companies plan to co-develop a naval version of the Surion (KUH-1), saying there would be demand for about 250 such choppers over the next 10 years, according to pool reports.
The KAI Surion, a twin-engined light utility helicopter, was designed and developed jointly by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Eurocopter to meet the requirements of the South Korean Army and Air Force. The helicopter will be used in a variety of applications, including troop assault, search and rescue, tactical lift, liaison and medical evacuation. It can accommodate a pilot, co-pilot, two gunners and nine troops.
The helicopter will replace the ageing UH-1H attack helicopter and the 500MD light helicopter fleet of South Korean Army and Air Force. KAI is also planning to build civilian variants of the helicopter. Airbus Helicopters has joined hands with S&T Dynamics of Kyungnam, South Korea, to develop the drive system for the helicopter.