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Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has secured a $1.6bn contract from the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) to deliver about 60 KUH Surion helicopters by 2017.

KAI will produce KUH Surion from 2014 under the deal, which follows a similar contract, secured in 2010, to produce 20 helicopters.

KAI is currently developing several derived helicopters based on the Surion model, which will be used by police or marine corps organisations.

The company expects to export over 300 Surion helicopters as per the market share of about 30%.

KUH Surion is a twin-engined light utility helicopter, which was designed and developed jointly by KAI and Eurocopter to meet the requirements of the South Korean Army and Air Force.

"The company expects to export over 300 Surion helicopters."

The helicopter will be used in several applications, including troop assault, search and rescue, tactical lift, liaison and medical evacuation.

The helicopter, which can accommodate a pilot, co-pilot, two gunners and nine troops, features an inertial navigation system, global positioning system, an automatic flight control system, forward-looking infrared radar and a digital MAP.

It is also equipped with a health and usage monitoring system, a modular weapon system, a counter measure dispensing system, infrared counter measures, electronic counter measures, a radar warning receiver, a hands-on collective and stick, and an on-board inert gas generating system.

The Republic of Korea Army (ROKA) has ordered for a total of 245 Surion helicopters. The deliveries, which started in 2012, will last for eight to ten years.

Image: Surion’s maiden flight took place in March 2010. Photo: courtesy of Korea Aerospace Industries.

Defence Technology