Korean Defence Programmes Moving Ahead

OFFICIALS ANNOUNCED on June 17 that five manufacturers had submitted bids by the June 15 deadline for participation in the S2 billion Korean Multi-role Helicopter (KMH) programme, which will see the Republic of Korea develop and build an eventual total of 500 multi-role helicopters. Proposals came from AgustaWestland (based on the AB139), Bell (UH-1Y/AH-1Z), Boeing (AH-64D), Eurocopter (Tiger) and Sikorsky (UH-60).

Two or three competitors will be shortlisted at the end of July and a winner will be chosen in September to enter a partnership with Korea Aerospace Industries for the six-year development phase. Initially, a military utility variant will be developed to replace the 250 MD500MDs in service with the Republic of Korea Army and Navy and possibly also the 150 RoKAF and Army UH-lHs. Development of civil and attack variants will then follow.

On June 11, two bids — one from Boeing and one from Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI)/Gulfstream/L-3 Communications — were submitted for the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) E-X requirement for four airborne early warning aircraft. Boeing is offering the Boeing 737 AEW&C fitted with Northrop Grumman’s Mesa radar, whilst the opposing team is offering a Gulfstream G550 business jet, a communication suite from L-3 and mission system and phased-array radar from IAI’s Elta Systems. A contract award is anticipated by November.

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