Korean Aerospace Industries has launched US$ 1.4 billion (1.6 trillion won) light armed and light civil helicopter development along with Airbus Helicopters in a joint finance project.
KAI in a press statement on Thursday said, “The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, KAI-led consortium and Airbus Helicopters agreed to jointly finance the project to develop light armed and light civil helicopters.”
DAPA will be investing 650 billion won (US $584 million) for the project and Airbus will finance 400 billion won (US $360 million). The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy will fund 350 billion won (US $314 million) and KAI consortium will contribute 200 billion won (US $180 million) for the project.
The project is aimed at replacing aging 500MD and AH-1S South Korean military choppers. KAI won the project along with Airbus helicopters in March this year.
As per the project, KAI will develop LCH and LAH by 2020 and 2022 with technical assistance from Airbus Helicopters.
“After the project is completed, KAI will exclusively produce light civil and armed helicopters for AH and the two partners will jointly market new light choppers in the overseas markets,’’ KAI said.
“In addition to securing helicopter manufacturing know-how, we expect that the light helicopter project will contribute to the local economy, creating more than 10,000 jobs,” it said.