ADEX 2019: South Korea closes in on MOH 2 decision

by Jon Grevatt

South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) is preparing to select a platform to meet a Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) requirement for additional anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters.

The programme – named the Maritime Operation Helicopter batch-two (MOH 2) procurement – features the acquisition of 12 helicopters for about KRW900 billion (USD804 million). Under the MOH batch-one programme, Leonardo supplied eight AW159 Wildcat twin-engine multimission helicopters to the RoKN in 2016.

Leonardo’s AW159 helicopter (pictured) and Lockheed Martin’s MH-60R are bidding for the Republic of Korea Navy’s programme to procure a second batch of anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters. (Republic of Korea Navy)

Leonardo’s AW159 helicopter (pictured) and Lockheed Martin’s MH-60R are bidding for the Republic of Korea Navy’s programme to procure a second batch of anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters. (Republic of Korea Navy)

Bidding for the MOH 2 programme are two candidates: the AW159 and Lockheed Martin’s MH-60R Seahawk Romeo maritime multimission helicopter. Jane’s understands that a preferred tenderer is expected to be identified by DAPA by mid-2020.

Leonardo’s Brian J McEachen, vice president of Asia-Pacific government campaigns, told Jane’s at the 2019 Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX) that the company’s MOH 2 bid will leverage economies of scale – in terms of maintenance, infrastructure, and training activity – linked to the batch-one supply of eight AW159 aircraft.

He added that the company would also look to integrate local capabilities onto the helicopter. This has already been achieved through the first batch, said McEachen, supporting the integration of South Korean firm LIG Nex1’s K745 Blue Shark anti-submarine torpedo.

In May 2019, the Philippine Navy (PN) also took delivery of two AW159 helicopters, with the Blue Shark part of the export. The aircraft are expected to be deployed from the PN’s two new Jose-Rizal-class frigates, which are under construction at South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries.

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South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) is preparing to select a platform to...

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