31 March 2021
by Gabriel Dominguez & Dae Young Kim & Alessandra Giovanzanti
South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) revealed on 31 March more details about the country’s plans to acquire an additional 36 foreign-made attack helicopters for the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA).
The country’s Defense Project Promotion Committee decided that the rotorcraft, which are intended to replace the RoKA’s Bell AH-1S attack helicopters, are to be acquired under the second phase of the ‘Large Attack Helicopter Project’. This programme phase, which has been budgeted at KRW3.17 trillion (USD2.81 billion), is scheduled to begin next year and be completed by 2028.
The new aircraft, which are to be sourced via a competitive bidding process, will supplement the RoKA’s current fleet of 36 AH-64E Apache helicopters, which were acquired from the United States for about USD1.6 billion under the first phase of the programme.
The Yonhap News Agency quoted an unnamed DAPA official as saying, “We will begin procedures to select the exact type of this asset, as well as a company to purchase the attack helicopters,” adding that the budget earmarked for the second phase of the programme “has increased due to inflation and the necessary addition of some equipment and facilities”.
Two RoKA AH-64E Apache attack helicopters. DAPA announced on 31 March that South Korea has earmarked KRW3.17 trillion to acquire an additional 36 foreign-made attack helicopters by 2028 to add to its current fleet of 36 AH-64Es, thus achieving 1:1 replacement of its legacy Bell AH-1S rotorcraft. (RoKA)
The planned acquisition is motivated by the need for greater air attack capabilities to compensate for the reduction in manpower and the transition of wartime operational command from the US to South Korea, RoKA officials told Janes, adding that the 36 additional rotorcraft would cover “the extended operational range of ground operations”.
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South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) revealed on 31 March more details ab...