Korea Aerospace Industries Co., Ltd. (KAI) launched a small armed helicopter (LAH) on the 11th. It has been announced that it has obtained 'suitable for provisional combat' from the Defense Acquisition Program Administration after 5 years and 6 months of starting the system development project.
LAH is an armed helicopter equipped with a domestic air-to-ground missile (AGM) cloth sword, a 20mm machine gun, and a 70mm rocket bomb to enable various missions such as killing enemy tanks, which are the main missions, as well as covering air assault units, and searching for power.
Determination of 'suitable for provisional combat' is an intermediate decision-making process for initial mass production before the end of R&D, taking into account the military energisation schedule, etc., when it takes a long time from development to production, like an aircraft. Subsequent test and evaluation are then conducted to finally determine whether it is suitable for combat.
With this decision, KAI was recognised that the development was successful by meeting major development and military requirements for LAH, and was able to lay the foundation for initial mass production.
Since the start of LAH development in June 2015, KAI completed its design in November 2017 and succeeded in its first flight in July last year, and conducted initial test evaluation until the end of August this year.
Using three LAH prototypes, KAI conducted flight tests under 3,600 conditions for 850 hours, including maximum cruising speed, cruising time, vertical ascent rate, in situ flight capability, and operating capability under strong winds.
In addition, the overall LAH flight performance and safety were verified through engine performance tests, armament system tests, navigation/communication equipment tests, mission equipment tests, and environmental tests (cold/hot weather).
Since September, KAI has been conducting a follow-up test evaluation to intensively verify the performance of LAH armament operations such as air-to-ground missile and turret gun launch tests, and survival equipment such as MWR (missile warning radar) and RWR (radar alarm receiver).
KAI plans to prove more than 4,000 items by June 2022. Upon completion of the LAH follow-up test and evaluation, it obtained the suitability for combat in August of the same year and completed the development of LAH at the end of 2022.
A KAI official said, "It was an opportunity to secure high-level armament integration technology through the development of LAH following the mid-sized mobile helicopter Surion. We will do our best to the end with a thorough follow-up test evaluation to contribute to strengthening military power."
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