Airbus Helicopters and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) have signed an agreement to initiate the serial production phase of the H155-based Light Armed Helicopter (LAH). This follows the contract awarded by the country’s Defence Acquisition Programme Administration to KAI in December 2022 to supply an initial batch of 10 LAH to the Republic of Korea Army. Deliveries will begin at the end of 2024, with follow-on orders to continue into the next decade.This agreement will see Airbus Helicopters and KAI enter into the next phase of the programme, ramping up production of the LAH at KAI’s Sacheon facility in South Korea. Airbus Helicopters will support KAI with the delivery of kits for mass production.
The two companies began their partnership in 2006 with the KUH-1 Surion (Korean Utility Helicopter) developed from the H215, and the two companies have also agreed a deal that will see a deepening of their commitment to the Surion programme. This follows the announcement of new variants of the helicopter for a variety of civil, military and parapublic applications.
As a result of the agreements, the companies said the two programmes will benefit from Airbus Helicopters’ expertise in flight control systems and helicopter drive systems, and KAI’s industrialisation capability for local production.Speaking at the signing in Seoul, Matthieu Louvot, Airbus Executive Vice President of programmes, said: “KAI is a long-time trusted partner with whom we have successfully developed several helicopter programmes. We are happy to strengthen this strategic partnership with these agreements, where we will secure the delivery of these two highly performing platforms for many years to come.”
Meanwhile, Han Chang-Heon, Executive Vice President of KAI’s Rotorcraft Division, added: “These two long-term agreements will contribute to the increasing competitiveness of KUH Surion and LAH in both local and global markets, by stabilising kit deliveries and prices, while strengthening partnerships in various rotorcraft businesses.”