South Korea is negotiating with Kazan Helicopters for the purchase of three Ansat twin-turbine utility helicopters.

Kazan project manager Alexander Petrov says a contract should be signed by year-end and the helicopters will be delivered in late 2004. Two will be operated by South Korea's forest aviation service and one by its police force.

The Ansat is a 3,300kg (7,300lb) helicopter powered by Pratt & Whitney Rus PW207K engines and seating up to nine passengers in transport configuration. South Korea will receive the three helicopters at about the same time as the first batch of military variants are delivered to the Russian army.

South Korea's police took delivery at the end of October of its second Kazan Mi-172. The purchase of the two Mi-172s and three Ansats are 50% funded through the repayment of debt owed by Russia to Seoul.

Meanwhile, South Korea has delayed until early 2004 a competition to select a new VIP helicopter. South Korea was expected to release in October a request for proposals for three large VIP/utility helicopters (Flight International, 15-21 July). Manufacturers now expect a tender to be released in the first quarter of 2004.

Source: Flight International