Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) is pitching its Surion utility helicopter at the export market, and hopes to sell 60-120 aircraft to international customers over the next 15-20 years.
Globally, there are about 1,500 helicopters in the 6-10t class the 8.7t Surion addresses. However, the Korean company would be happy to corner a small share of the market with the helicopter, which is aimed at both military and parapublic operators.
Speaking to Flightglobal at the Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition, Kiwan Hahn, KAI’s director of marketing for domestic and export programmes for the Surion, said the utility type was attracting strong interest. “We’ve been very busy at the show over the last two days meeting with delegations from international customers,” he said.
So far, KAI has replied to requests for proposals from two countries in South America, and a request for information from another Asian nation.
Hahn declines to name the states involved, however, beyond saying that it has held talks with "a number of countries".
KAI and Eurocopter, which helped develop the Surion, co-operate in the marketing of the type outside of South Korea.
Hahn is also hopeful that a proposed naval variant of the Surion could one day replace the South Korean navy’s fleet of AgustaWestland Lynx 99/99A helicopters.
Some of the navy’s 24-strong Lynx fleet will be replaced by the eight AW159 Lynx Wildcats Seoul will receive in 2015-2016. KAI hopes to pitch the Surion as a replacement for the remainder, although the Surion is considerably larger than the 6.2t AW159.