|March 26th, 2008|
Korea, France, Start Marketing for Helicopters info
Korea, France, Start Marketing for Helicopters
By Jung Sung-ki
The Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and France's Eurocopter will launch joint efforts this week to market South Korea's semi-indigenous utility helicopters that are to be produced from 2012, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said Tuesday.
Representatives from the two firms held a ``kick-off meeting'' for the overseas sales of the Korea Utility Helicopter (KUH) at Eurocopter headquarters in Marignane, France, the agency said.
``The meeting was part of a memorandum of understanding, signed between the two sides during the Seoul Air Show last October, to establish a joint venture company (JVC) to market KUHs and heralds the beginning of the two firms' substantial efforts to sell the helicopter on the global market,'' it said.
The JVC will market and sell the KUH, an 8-metric-ton transport helicopter to be developed and produced by the two manufacturers.
In June 2006, the two aircraft manufacturers inked the $1.3 billion research and development contract, South Korea's biggest arms deal ever with a non-U.S. company.
The two companies plan to set up the JVC by 2010 with KAI holding 51 percent of the firm and Eurocopter, 49 percent.
Production contracts worth $4.1 billion will be signed in about 2011, a year before the start of mass production, once it is clear how much technology transfer has occurred.
Eurocopter is to provide technical assistance and supply the transmission and autopilot subassemblies.
KUHs are expected to replace about 300 of 1,000 utility helicopters in the world after 2014, according to the release.
The KUH program was launched in 2005 to produce 245 troop-carrying helicopters to replace the Army fleet of UH-1Hs and MD500s.
The 14.9-meter-long KUH can carry two pilots and 11 troops in full gear, and fly more than two hours at a cruise speed up to 240 kilometers per hour. Its range is 270 nautical miles.
The Army has about 700 helicopters including the UH-1H. But up to 50 percent of them will soon be more than 30 years old.
South Korea is also planning to deploy 272 new attack helicopters. DAPA has not made a decision whether it will buy attack helicopters from foreign nations or develop them in cooperation with foreign defense firms.