Korea Air has signed a memorandum of association with Boeing Thursday to jointly develop 500 MD unmanned helicopters.
The US firm will deliver technical support to Korean Air so that it can modify as well as arm the 500MD helicopters, Korea Herald reported.
Korean Air succeeded in remodeling the ROK Air Force’s retired 500MD helicopters to unmanned helicopters from 2014 to May 2016. Based on this success, Korean Air has launched a new project that will run until 2017 to remodel 500MD helicopters into unmanned armed helicopters.
The 500 MD model was made by Korean Air’s aerospace division in 1963 and was the first helicopter to be made in South Korea.
The new 500MD armed unmanned helicopter will not only be able to perform day and night reconnaissance and surveillance missions but will also be able to conduct a short-distance precision strike, a feature which will maximize the helicopter’s usage at the front line when an immediate response is required.
The 500 series design features shock-absorbing landing skid struts as well as a turboshaft engine mounted at a 45-degree angle toward the rear of the cabin pod. It also features a fuel tank cell under the floor and the battery in the nose.
The engine exhaust port is located at the end of the cabin pod underneath the tail boom. It has a short-diameter main rotor system and a short tail, giving it an agile control response and is less susceptible to weather-cocking.