via AirBus Press Release.
Airbus Helicopters will join with Korea Aerospace Industries in developing two 5-ton class rotorcraft that meet South Korea’s requirements for its next-generation Light Civil Helicopter (LCH) and Light Armed Helicopter (LAH).Interesting.
As the LCH and LAH competition winner, Airbus Helicopters will continue its highly successful relationship with Korea Aerospace Industries, including the joint program that developed Korea’s Surion twin-engine utility transport helicopter.
“We would like to express our deep gratitude to Korea Aerospace Industries and the South Korean government for entrusting us with this major helicopter program,” said Airbus Helicopters President Guillaume Faury. “We are committing our full support in ensuring the LCH and LAH projects will be completed on time, on cost and to specification.”
Both the LCH and LAH will be based on Airbus Helicopters’ H155 (formerly known as the EC155) – the latest evolution of its best-selling Dauphin family, which includes the Panther military and parapublic variants that have demonstrated their capabilities in operation around the world.
It would appear that tech transfer is the driver behind this program and not combat capability for the Light Armed Helicopter. This proposed helicopter is
bigger than a Little Bird but carries the same weapons load. I just don't see the advantage on the battlefield.
There is also the issue of cost. While its based on an off the shelf platform, it will still be built to S. Korean specifications and in some ways will be a new design. It doesn't seem practical to me.
For a nation supposedly facing a constant threat from the North this sure seems wasteful. Its obvious that the S. Koreans SHOULD be forced to stand on their own two feet. Since they're buying EU aircraft perhaps the EU should replace our troops in their country.