South Korea Bids to Buy Second-Hand US Attack Choppers

May 29th, 2008  

Topic: South Korea Bids to Buy Second-Hand US Attack Choppers

It mentions near the bottom that US Forces maintain Apache's but I thought these were pulled already? Anybody have a update? Good news for South Korea I hope it goes through. Thought it was cool that they might be producing there own attack helicopter, I guess this cost less going this route.

South Korea Bids to Buy Second-Hand US Attack Choppers
By Jung Sung-ki
Staff Reporter

South Korea has expressed interest in purchasing renovated U.S. Apache attack helicopters, which will be available to international customers in the near future, a U.S. government official said Tuesday.

Army Col. Kevin W. Madden, chief of the Joint U.S. Military Affairs Group-Korea (JUSMAG-K), said, the U.S. government will soon make available to foreign customers about 260 Block I Apache helicopters built by Boeing.

The JUSMAG-K is attached to the U.S. Embassy in Seoul with missions to support affairs related to the Korea-U.S. alliance.

``I have heard many countries have expressed interest,'' Madden told The Korea Times. ``I have been briefed that there will be options for international customers to refurbish or completely rebuild the helicopters in the customer's preferred configuration all the way up to Block III Longbow models.''

``In that case, they will not be `used' at all but will represent, for practical purposes, completely new helicopters. I'm sure prices will depend on the customer's desires,'' he added.

His remarks were contradictory to those by the spokesman of the Ministry of National Defense earlier in the day.

Defense Ministry spokesman Won Tae-je said the U.S. government had first proposed the idea to the Korean government through the JUSMAG-K. He confirmed a local report that Seoul is considering buying 36 ``second-hand'' Apaches with a total price tag of 1 trillion won ($960 million) to replace the Army's aging Cobra attack choppers.

The Apache fleet would be full operational with the Army by 2012, according to the report.

``The offer was only reviews at the working level but we're reviewing it very positively,'' Won told reporters.

Won, however, denied part of the report that the government would drop a plan to build more than 270 semi-indigenous attack helicopters under the Korea Attack Helicopter (KAH) program.

``The defense budget for research expenses on the KAH program was included in the 2009-2013 arms procurement plan,'' said the spokesman. ``The program to develop attack helicopters using the country's own technology will go forward as scheduled.''

Many defense experts say purchasing aircraft from foreign manufacturers would be more economically sound than developing its own, which is expected cost up to 10 trillion won.

The AH-64 Apache Longbow is an all-weather, day-night military attack helicopter and is the U.S. Army's principle attack helicopter. Its armament include a 30mm M230 Chain Gun, AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles, AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and Hydra 70 laser-guided rockets.

The U.S. Forces Korea maintains two Apache battalions here to help prevent North Korean special forces from infiltrating the South by sea. Recent reports said the United States is considering pulling one battalion from the Korean Peninsula to deploy it to Afghanistan on anti-terror missions.

Madden stressed, ``The U.S. government has not proposed anything to the Korean government and has not been advised that Seoul will purchase these helicopters.''

``As far as I know, the ROK Army is still looking at future concepts and configurations for its helicopter fleet and has made no final determinations and the KAH program is still viable,'' he said. ``Over the past 5-8 years, the ROKG has made inquiries and requested information not only on the Apache but also the Super Cobra as well as other countries' helicopters.''


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