Airbus Helicopters sees a large potential market for the Korea Aerospace Industries Light Attack Helicopter (LAH) to be produced in South Korea.
Norbert Ducrot, Airbus Helicopters’ senior vice president North Asia, foresees South Korean demand for 214 LAHs and 100 examples of its civil variant, the Light Civil Helicopter (LCH).
Under the terms of a contract signed in June, the European company will transfer the H155 assembly line to South Korea, where KAI will assume production of the type.
Internationally, Airbus Helicopters has ambitious forecasts for the LAH, estimating a market of 300-400 examples to replace legacy attack helicopters. The LCH will enter service in 2020, while the LAH will be ready by 2022.
“You can imagine a lot of countries that cannot afford the current attack helicopter can be interested in a version that is lighter but also very powerful,” he says.
He adds that the company’s experience developing the Tiger Attack Helicopter will play a useful role in developing the LAH, which will feature a chin mounted 20mm cannon as well as side mounted missiles. The LAH will also be able to carry 6-10 combat troops, which makes it attractive for special forces missions.
In March, KAI announced that it had selected the Airbus Helicopters H155 to form the basis of the LCH/LAH family. This will help extend the life of the H155, which from 2018 will be superseded by the new H160.