Korea Aerospace Industries has conducted the first engine ground test for its developmental Light Attack Helicopter (LAH).
The test took place at the company’s production centre in Sacheon, and marks the last stage of ground tests, says the company. A first flight could happen before the middle of the year.
The LAH is powered by a new Safran engine, designated the Arriel 2L2, which is the most powerful variant in the Arriel family. The LAH’s Light Civilian Helicopter (LCH) variant will be powered by the Arriel 2C2.
In June 2016, Safran said that it and Hanhwa Techwin would jointly develop the Arriel 2L2 in South Korea. Hanhwa Techwin’s role is to license produce the engine, manufacture key parts, and perform final assembly at its Changwon factory. It will also provide MRO support for the engine.
Safran said the 2L2 will have “new and proven” technologies. Newly developed components will include the axial compressor, high pressure compressor diffuser, high-pressure turbine material, and dual-channel FADEC.
At the Paris Air Show in June 2017, Safran and Hanwha announced that they had conducted the first ground run of the Arriel 2L2.
KAI aims to complete development of the LAH in November 2022, paving the way for it to enter service in 2023. The LCH will enter service in 2021.
The Airbus Helicopters H155 forms the basis of the LCH/LAH family. This will help extend the life of the H155, which from 2018 was superseded by the H160.
The LAH will replace types such as the MD Helicopters MD500 and Bell AH-1J/S Cobra in service with the South Korean army.