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Teaming up: Seoul pursues MUM-T capability for helicopters

Models of the KAI Marine Attack Helicopter and the KAI Light Armed Helicopter are displayed alongside ALEs at the IDEX 2023 exhibition in Abu Dhabi. (Janes/Akshara Parakala)

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has launched an ambitious programme to develop manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T) and air-launched effects (ALEs) technologies to be operated with domestically developed helicopters.

The programme is part of a wider KAI focus in response to Republic of Korea (RoK) Armed Forces requirements to operationalise multidomain capabilities that leverage technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and enable effective interoperability between manned and unmanned aircraft.

KAI officials told Janes the company is developing MUM-T projects that involve the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as sensor amplifiers for manned air, land, and naval assets. The projects are aimed to enhance capabilities such as command-and-control (C2), tactical communications, and mobile combat and enable the cross-domain teaming of air, land, and sea assets.

Single-domain teaming

An air-to-air concept for MUM-T being developed by KAI involves the Night Intruder (NI)-600VT (vertical take-off) and tiltrotor NI-500VT (vectored thrust) unmanned helicopters, which are being designed by KAI to provide deep intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) support in hostile environments.

KAI officials said the NI-600VT and NI-500VT are designed to transfer information to static and mobile ground control stations (GCSs), which would then feed the information to the KAI Light Armed Helicopter (LAH) to enable this platform to strike adversarial forces.

Information from KAI shows the NI-600VT could potentially carry diverse mission payloads comprising electro-optical, infrared, and search-and-rescue equipment. The NI-600VT's software systems are also being designed to facilitate dual communications based on C-band and ultra-high freqency (UHF) and withstand Global Positioning System (GPS) jamming.

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