Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has displayed two scale models of their attack helicopter as candidates for the indigenous AH-X programme to replace the country’s aging helicopters.
The South Korean Army has plans to replace its aging Bell AH-1 and MD Helicopters MD-500 attack helicopters with around 270 attack helicopters.
The two options are based on the platform of the Korea utility helicopter (KUH) currently being developed by KAI in collaboration with Eurocopter.
The KUH will be further developed and customised as Korea attack helicopter, which will be delivered on time, says KAI.
Of the two displayed options the first variant is similar in size to the KUH, with the cockpit slightly modified to incorporate weapons systems. More than 70% of the components are matched with the KUH.
The 16.2m-long, 5.5m-wide first variant will have a total payload capacity of 7,500kg-7,950kg and a maximum speed of 255km/h.The helicopter can hover at 6,500ft, and has a cruise duration of 2.2 hours.
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The slimmer second variant resembles other attack helicopters including the AgustaWestland AW129 Mangusta or Eurocopter Tiger, and will share only 60% of the KUH’s components.
The second variant is 15.9m long and 5m wide, with a payload capacity of 7,270kg-7,720kg and a maximum speed of over 140kt. It can hover at 6,500ft and have a cruise duration of up to three hours.
Both the variants will have several weapons systems including 16 anti-tank missiles, 70mm rockets and 20mm-30mm turret guns.