The Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) Light Armed Helicopter (LAH) has completed a series of low-temperature tests in Northern Canada.

The work took place in the Canadian town of Yellowknife from December 2021, and saw the helicopter operate in temperatures below -30°C (-22°F), says KAI.

Forty flights were conducted, with 165 items tested. The ‘soaking test’ saw the helicopter exposed to -32°C for 12 hours.

“LAH has proven that it can exhibit flight performance even in low-temperature environments by checking aircraft manoeuvrability characteristics such as performance, vibration, and load by exposure to cryogenic temperatures for a long period of time,” says KAI.

In addition to KAI, South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration and other South Korean agencies supported the project.

The LAH – and its Light Civil Helicopter variant – are based on the 4.5t Airbus Helicopters H155. The model is intended to replace the South Korean army’s Bell AH-1S Cobras and MD Helicopters MD500 Defenders. LAH missions will include reconnaissance and ground attack. KAI also hopes to sell the LAH overseas.

In April 2021 KAI said the helicopter’s 20mm cannon and 70mm rockets have been integrated, with both weapons synched to the helicopter’s target acquisition designation sight. KAI said system tests with air-to-ground missiles would be performed by the first half of 2022.

KAI also foresees the LAH working with unmanned air vehicles and loitering munitions for ‘manned-unmanned teaming’ work.