South Korea’s arms procurement agency is reportedly favouring “locally-built, cost-effective” Surion marine attack helicopter over western counterparts under its project to procure 24 gunships.
Defense Acquistion Programme Administration (DAPA) concluded a year-long study analysing offers from five bidding companies: Bell Textron (AH-1Z Viper), Boeing (AH-64E Apache Guardian), Turkish Aerospace (T-129 Atak), Lockheed Martin-Sikorsky (S-70i), and Korean Aerospace Industries or KAI (Surion Marine Attack Helicopter).
The chosen aircraft will become the backbone of the Republic of Korea Marine Corps’ Air Group that will be established in 2021. It will consist of two squadrons of utility and one of attack helicopters.
After the year-long study, DAPA’s Defense Agency of Technology and Quality (DTaQ) concluded that procuring a locally developed platform capable of operating from the Republic of Korea Navy's amphibious assault ships would be more cost effective than acquiring a foreign-made one, Jane’s reported on April 19.
“A decision on the programme has been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic but is expected to be made in the near future,” military officials were quoted as saying by the report.
In December 2016, the RoKMC placed an order for 30 MUH-1 Surion utility helicopters. Deliveries commenced in January 2018.