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

  • CFM Air

    Company specialises in development and prototyping; latest known own design is the Dardo, which flew in July 2014. At that time, CFM had not decided whether to sell the project to a manufacturer or to establish its own production line.

  • CFM Air Dardo

    Type Two-seat lightplane. Programme Exhibited, unflown, at Aero '14, Friedrichshafen, April 2014. First flight (unregistered) at Turin Aeritalia aerodrome on 16 July 2014, flown by Maurizio Cheli. Design Features Intended to have widest cockpit of any Advanced Ultralight, able to accommodate

  • Martin

    Company established in 1998 to develop Jetpack exoskelitor flying vehicle inspired by-and intended to surpass-impractical 1950s projects. In December 2008, received grant of NZD968,430 from New Zealand government's Foundation for Research, Science and Technology. Flight testing and fundraising was

  • Martin Jetpack

    Type Exoskelitor flying vehicle. Programme Developed, in secret, over 27 years by Mr Martin, who built 11 prototypes up to time of international debut at AirVenture, Oshkosh, 29 July 2008. Martin Model P11 (11th prototype) registered ZK-JME on 20 April 2011; on 21 May 2011, flying in UAV mode,

  • Niki

    Established in present form 2010, although first product was helicopter designed 10 years earlier, this failing to achieve production. Niki 2004 two seat autogyro project began in 2004, constructed of composites, combined with plywood and aluminium, and flight-tested (registered A21NIN) in December

ADVERTISEMENT

Industry Links

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