Korean manufacturer KAI worked with Airbus Helicopters to develop the first Korean made multi-role KUH-1 Surion
Korea Aerospace Industries, Korea’s only helicopter manufacturer announced on December 29th, 2016, that it had signed a $520 million USD (630 billion South Korean Won) contract with the Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) to produce thirty KUH-1 Surion helicopters for the Korean Marine Corps to be completed by 2023.
The KUH-1 Surion as a Korean Marine Corps variant will be used in a national security role, providing border protection and other military duties.
The South Korean Marines have previously relied on American helicopters that are now decades old technology. The Surion helicopters will gradually replace the aging American helicopter fleet to become an entirely South Korean manufactured helicopter fleet by 2023.
The KUH-1 Surion utility helicopter is the first-ever Korean made helicopter, brought to market in 2013 after KAI securing a billion dollar military procurement contract in 2006 that began ten years of work to design the helicopter that is to be manufactured in South Korea.
Development of the KUH-1 Surion included making the rotor blades foldable for ease of transportation by air sea or land, as well as being coated in an anti-corrosive material to increase the airframe service life for helicopters based in maritime environments susceptible to corrosion.
KAI commenced deliveries to the Korean Army in 2013, that to date has delivered 90 SUH-1 Surion helicopters to the Korean Army over three separate contracts.
The KUH-1 Surion has also seen use in other areas, with deliveries to the Korean Forest Service and Korean National Police and aims to begin exporting the helicopters. Officials have stated that there is interest in deliveries of the helicopters from countries such as Peru and Indonesia.
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