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KAI developing next-generation high-speed helicopter

KAI is developing a high-speed advanced helicopter as part of its ‘next-generation high-mobility helicopter' project. The aircraft is being designed to fit a South Korean military requirement to replace UH-60s. (Korea Aerospace Industries)

A new high-speed helicopter being developed by Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) intends to replace Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks in service with the Republic of Korea (RoK) Armed Forces.

Designated as the ‘next-generation high-manoeuvre helicopter', an industry source told Janes that KAI is conducting research and development of the new air platform.

The project was initiated after the issuance of a requirement by the South Korean government. “The Republic of Korea military is planning to replace the currently operating UH-60 helicopters with domestic high-mobility helicopters,” the source added.

Janes has learned that KAI is reviewing the required performance of the helicopter based on operational requirements announced by the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA). The project team is considering the aircraft's performance in relation to the US Future Vertical Lift (FVL) plan.

The US FVL programme will develop a family of high-speed military rotorcraft for the US armed forces.

The concept rendering of the next-generation high-manoeuvre helicopter (or ‘next-generation high-mobility helicopter', as the project is also called) shows that it employs co-axial, composite rotors and rear thrust propellers to achieve high speed.

As per official requirements of the RoK Armed Forces, the helicopter should have a speed of 250 kt, a take-off weight of 12,700 kg, a cruising time of 25 h, a vertical ascent rate of 170 m, and a hovering altitude of 6,000 ft.

These specifications represent significant performance improvements over the UH-60Ps, which are operational with the RoK Armed Forces. As per Janes

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