South Korea has completed the deployment of the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) KUH-1 Surion utility helicopter to the country’s army.

The programme involved four production contracts that saw “about 200” examples produced for the army, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).

KAI KUH-1 Surion

Source: Greg Waldron/FlightGlobal

The KUH-1 Surion has replaced rotorcraft such as the Bell UH-1H and Hughes MD500

Following the type’s development from 2006, the army received its first Surion in 2012, with deliveries completed this month.

In army service the type performs a range of missions, including assault, cargo airlift, and command and control.

While army production has completed, DAPA notes that there are improvements in the works, including better survival equipment for pilots and crew as well as performance enhancements.

In addition, KAI has developed other variants of the type, including the MUH-1 Marineon for the country’s marines, a minesweeping version for the navy, and parapublic versions.

Cirium fleets data indicates that in addition to the army, variants are in service with the marines, coastguard, the South Korean police, and other agencies.

KAI is also developing an attack version for the marines that will support assault operations; service entry is set for the late 2020s.

KAI has said that that the new attack variant will see the armament system of the developmental Light Armed Helicopter (LAH) integrated with the Surion platform. The LAH is based on the Airbus Helicopters H155.

Weapons will include a cannon, guided and unguided rockets, and an air-to-air missile capability.