South Korean military has suspended the flight of its indigenous KUH-1 Surion helicopter after defects in imported gearbox after a deadly crash of a Norwegian chopper using the same European component was reported.
The EC-225 Super Puma chopper of Norwegian Oil Company Statoil crashed off the Scandinavian country's southwest coast on April 29, killing all 13 people aboard, Yonhap reported quoting the defense procurement agency as saying Thursday.
Korea has recently been informed by the chopper's manufacturer, Airbus Helicopters that the crash was due to the defective main gearbox that connects the aircraft's engine with the rotor system.
"Some of Surion choppers are equipped with the same main gearbox, so the flight of these aircraft has been put on hold to prevent potential accidents," an official at the Defense Acquisition Program Administration said.
The multi-role Surion chopper was produced by Korea's sole aircraft manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. as part of a 1.3 trillion won military procurement project. About 57 percent of the military-use Surion choppers are equipped with the gearbox made by Airbus Helicopters.
Since its first flight test in 2010, the indigenous aircraft has been adapted for military purposes as well as other non-military missions for the police and the firefighters.
With financial reimbursement from Airbus Helicopters, the DAPA plans to replace the defective components by the end of this year, the official said.