South Korea’s Board of Audit and Inspection has ordered a probe into the process of the continued deployment of the nation’s ‘Surion’ helicopter fleet after the state-run audit body inspected the defects that make the chopper “unreliable” for flight missions.
The state-run audit body said Korea Aerospace Industry, Surion’s manufacturer, did not run proper flight tests, while Defense Acquisition Program Administration and its affiliate Agency for Defense Development failed to supervise the procedure, Korean Herald reports.
The audit agency has requested an investigation into DAPA chief Chang Myoung-jin, who allowed for continued deployment of Surion in December despite the defects, along with two other DAPA officials.
It said that the helicopter lacks lightening protection and anti-icing capability. It even has an engine leakage and malfunctions in its fuselage and windshield.
“We hope the investigation will help us come up with measures to fix Surion’s safety issues,” it said in a statement. “(The probe) will serve as an opportunity to ensure safety of the pilots and make Surion the best Korean helicopters”.
Deployed to the South Korean Army since 2012, Surion is a twin-engine light utility helicopter designed to support various missions including troop assault, search-and-rescue, tactical lift, liaison and medical evacuation.