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ADEX 2023: South Korea seeks sales for MPUH rotary UAV

South Korea's multi-purpose unmanned helicopter (MPUH). (Agency for Defense Development/Janes)

With development of South Korea's new multi-purpose unmanned helicopter (MPUH) complete, the government and industry partners are seeking customers for the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

During Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition (ADEX) 2023, a source with South Korea's Agency for Defense Development (ADD) told Janes that the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) has expressed an initial interest in acquisition of the rotary-wing UAV.

Developed at a cost of KRW16.16 billion (USD11.94 million), the MPUH is designed to fulfil both military and civilian roles, according to ADD. “For military applications, the rotary-wing UAV has a role as a cargo transport and as a surveillance system,” a second, senior ADD source said.

“The platform has the ability to deliver supplies such as ammunition and food to [far-flung] military units,” the first ADD official said. “South Korea is dominated by mountainous territory and in this setting, the ability to air-deliver supplies to small units is important.”

The senior official told Janes that the MPUH can carry a payload of 60 kg and has an endurance of six hours with a reduced payload of 20 kg.

According to information published by ADD at the defence show, development of this rotary-wing UAV began on 7 December 2017 and ended on 30 November 2021. According to both ADD sources, the MPUH has completed all flight trials.

The senior ADD official said that the agency funded the MPUH programme, while the UAV was primarily developed by a South Korean company – Sungwoo Engineering Co Ltd. Additional joint development was conducted by LiG Nex 1 Co Ltd, DBRAIN Co Ltd, and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).

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