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​South Korea to add 12 ASW helicopters

South Korea is in the market for a follow-on order for ship borne anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters.

Seoul’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) says that three types will be considered for the requirement: the Leonardo Helicopters AgustaWestland AW159, the Lockheed Martin MH-60R, the NH Industries NH-90.

South Korean media reports indicated that the new requirement is for 12 examples, to be delivered by 2022.

DAPA says the additional aircraft are necessary owing to North Korea’s development of a submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) capability.

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that the South Korean Navy recently completed taking delivery of eight AW159s.

Overall, the navy has 56 assets assigned to ASW missions, of which 40 are helicopters and 16 are fixed wing aircraft.

Rotorcraft include 11 AgustaWestland Lynx Mk. 99s with an average age of 26.2 years, and 13 Lynx 99As with an average age of 16.8 years. The navy also has eight Sikorsky UH-60Ps with an average age of 21.3 years.

The navy’s fixed wing assets include 16 P-3 Orions. Eight of these are P-3C-III+ standard aircraft with an average age of 21.4 years, while the other eight are of the P-3CK standard with an average age of 6.5 years.

The P-3CKs were previously P-3Bs that the navy bought from the USA and upgraded with the help of Korean Aerospace Industries and L-3 Communications. The P-3CKs have surveillance equipment including multipurpose radar, high-definition electro-optical and infrared cameras and digital acoustic analysis equipment.

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