Air Platforms

Boeing to fly unmanned MD500 demonstrator for South Korea before end of year

25 June 2014
Boeing demonstrated a number of unmanned technologies aboard its H-6U Unmanned Little Bird (pictured) in late 2012 that could be incorporated into the RoKA's MD 500 Little Bird fleet. Source: Boeing

Boeing has begun work converting a single MD 500 Little Bird observation helicopter into an unmanned demonstrator platform for the Republic of Korea, with the goal of a first flight before the end of the year.

Speaking to reporters at the company's Mesa production facility in Arizona, Dino Cerchie, program manager of H-6U Unmanned Little Bird (ULB), said a team has just arrived in South Korea to begin modification work on the MD500 for the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA).

The modification work follows on the back of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) Boeing signed with Korea Air Aerospace Division (KAL-ASD) in 2013 to convert an undisclosed number of RoKA MD 500 helicopters into unmanned platforms. The MoU itself followed on from a 2012 demonstration flight of the ULB that was conducted for the RoKA by Boeing.

According to Cerchie, a decision on whether to proceed with converting multiple helicopters will be taken by the South Korean government once trials of the demonstrator aircraft have been completed.

The RoKA is thought to have 175 MD 500 Little Bird observation and light attack helicopters still in service (130 MD 500s in the observation role and 45 BGM-71 TOW missile-equipped Defender platforms in the light attack role). Although these are currently due to be replaced by the Boeing AH-64E Apache, Cerchie noted that the demonstrator programme would give the RoKA an alternative to retirement, whereby they could be used as unmanned scouts.

Related articles:



(258 words)
By posting a comment you confirm that you have read and accept our Posting Rules and our Terms of Use of this site.

RELEVANT PROFILE LISTINGS

  • Daher-Socata TB 30 Epsilon

    Type Basic trainer and counter-insurgency aircraft. Programme First details of the Epsilon tandem two-seat primary/basic trainer were released in September 1978, designed to meet French Air Force requirements for a propeller-driven aircraft for use in the initial stages of a more cost-effective

  • Fokker 50

    Type Medium transport. Programme The Fokker 50 came as a follow-on development of the F27 Friendship. It was first announced on 24 November 1983; more than 80 per cent of components new or modified; two prototypes used modified F27 fuselages; maiden flight of first prototype (PH-OSO) on 28

  • SAC (Mikoyan) J-6 (F-6)

    Type Multi-role fighter and combat trainer. Programme The J-6 (F-6) is basically a MiG-19 fighter built in China. Its original design was initiated by the Mikoyan bureau in Russia, where the I-350 (M) or I-360 prototype, with non-afterburning Mikulin AM-5 engines, flew for the first time on or

  • ITWL Aerial Target JET

    Type Recoverable Aerial Target. Development The ITWL Aerial Target JET was designed to provide anti-aircraft troops an aerial target for training and rocket shooting. Description Airframe Forward-shifted wings. No wheeled landing system. Mission payloads Sleeve-target system with miss

  • Cessna 800 Citation Longitude

    Type Long-range business jet. Programme Announced, and model and cabin mockup displayed, at EBACE, Geneva, Switzerland, 14 May 2012. First flight due in mid-2016; certification and service entry in late 2017. Will be built in Wichita, Kansas. Wind tunnel testing to confirm performance completed

ADVERTISEMENT

Industry Links

IHS Jane's is not responsible for the content within or linking from Industry Links pages.
ADVERTISEMENT