South Korea has confirmed the selection of Eurocopter as primary partner for its new indigenous utility helicopter programme, and has tapped 10 other foreign companies to help develop components and systems.

Eurocopter says it will help Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) develop a new 8t helicopter starting in 2006 and to produce 245 aircraft between 2011 and 2020. The aircraft will be used by the South Korean army to transport up to 11 troops and will also be sold overseas by a joint venture company to be established by Eurocopter and KAI.

Eurocopter’s selection over AgustaWestland and Bell Helicopter had been expected since early September after KAI concluded that the EADS subsidiary had offered the best technology-transfer package (Flight International, 13-19 September). The selection of General Electric’s T700 engine to be licence produced by Samsung Techwin and Israel’s Elbit Systems to help integrate mission equipment and develop the mission computer for the Korea Helicopter Programme (KHP) was also confirmed last week.

Seoul has selected APPH to provide the aircraft’s landing gear, Autoflug the fuel-measuring system, EADS the survival management computer, Eaton Aerospace the hydraulic pump, Elisra the laser warning receiver, GKN Aerospace the fuel tank, Smiths Aerospace the diagnostic software and data storage system, and Thales the air data system. The companies are being directed to work with local firms: APPH with WIA; EADS with Nex1Future; Eaton with Tongmyung Heavy Industries; Elbit with KAI; Elisra with Samsung Thales; Eurocopter with KAI, Korean Air Aerospace and S&T Dynamics; GE with Samsung Thales; GKN and Autoflug with Hanhwa; Smiths with KAI and Withus; and Thales with Firstec.

Of the 100 components to be produced for KHP, 29 will be imported, 44 developed locally with foreign assistance, and 27 developed locally without assistance by Dawin Friction, DoDaam Systems, Hyundai JComm, Kyangju Aerospace Electric Systems, SungJin Techwin and Vision Inno-Tech.

Eurocopter will take a 30% stake in the $6-8 billion programme’s development phase and a 20% stake in the production phase and provide the aircraft’s transmission and autopilot subassemblies.


Source: Flight International