PICTURES: Korea Aerospace Industries, Eurocopter roll out first utility helicopter

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Partners Korea Aerospace Industries and Eurocopter have rolled out the prototype for the Korean Utility Helicopter programme, which is expected to deliver 245 aircraft for use by the South Korean army.

Conducted at KAI's Sacheon production plant, the roll-out came just over three years after the development effort was launched by Seoul under a deal worth $1.3 billion.

KAI and its European partner are co-operating in the development of the 8t-class aircraft, with the latter providing its gearboxes, rotor mast and autopilot. The collaboration is "an enriching experience in terms of technological and multicultural exchange for both our teams", says Eurocopter chief executive Lutz Bertling.



Both images © Eurocopter

First flight of the prototype will take place in "the early months of 2010", says Eurocopter, with production deliveries to start during 2012. KAI and Eurocopter have also projected a potential market demand for up to 300 export examples.