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KAI awarded attack helicopter contract for Marines

Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) has proposed to develop an attack helicopter based on the MUH-1 Marineon. The aircraftʼs side-by-side cockpit seat design differs from traditional attack helicopter tandem-seating layouts. (Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI))

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has been awarded a contract to develop an attack helicopter for the Republic of Korea (RoK) Marine Corps.

In an announcement on 27 October, KAI said that it had signed a contract with South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) to develop the helicopter at a cost of KRW438.40 billion (USD308.65 million). The contract is to be executed within 46 months, KAI said in a regulatory filing.

The company told Janes that three prototypes will be produced. KAI added in a statement that it had proposed the development of the MUH-1 Marineon amphibious helicopter into an attack helicopter as it is a “proven light armed helicopter (LAH)”.

The company said that the helicopter must be capable of covering amphibious manoeuvres of the marine corps, its “amphibious assault helicopters and air assault forces”. It must “provide air fire support for ground combat units between the final operations,” KAI added.

Janes was told that the helicopter will be armed with turret-type machine guns, guided and unguided rockets, and air-to-ground missiles. Concept art of the attack helicopter showed that it will likely be armed with an M197 electric cannon placed below the cockpit.

“LAH weapons and fire-control systems [will be] used,” a company representative told Janes. “In addition, air-to-air missiles such as the Stinger or Mistral will be operated”. DAPA has said that alternative weapons include eight Hanwha Techwin “Cheon-geom” anti-tank missiles

According to previous DAPA information, 38 unguided 2.75 inch rockets can also be carried in pods.

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