The South Korean Army decommissioned five decades-old UH-1H helicopters with indigenous multi-role Surion rotorcraft ready to take their place.
The Army had 129 Bell UH-1H helicopters in service. They flew an accumulated 792,000 hours over 146 million kilometers during the period.
An upgraded version of the Surion could also be deployed soon. These aircraft will be used to transport emergency patients.
The KUH-1 Surion was developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Eurocopter. They will be used in a variety of applications, including troop assault, search and rescue, tactical lift, liaison and medical evacuation. It can accommodate a pilot, co-pilot, two gunners and nine troops
The helicopter features an inertial navigation system, global positioning system, an automatic flight control system, forward-looking infrared radar and a digital MAP.
Surion is also equipped with a health and usage monitoring system, a modular weapon system, a counter measure dispensing system, infrared counter measures, electronic counter measures, a radar warning receiver, a hands-on collective and stick, and an on-board inert gas generating system.
The helicopter is fitted with six BGM-71 tube-launched optically tracked (TOW) air-to-air missiles or four rocket pods. The BGM-1 TOW is an anti-tank guided missile designed and developed by Hughes Aircraft. The maximum operational range of the missile is 3,750m. It weighs around 3.9kg to 5.9kg.