S. Korean aircraft maker to showcase homemade light-armed helicopter in Singapore

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : February 21, 2024, 16:38 Updated : February 22, 2024, 01:24

SEOUL -- At a global air show in Singapore, South Korea's aircraft maker Korea Aerospace Industries will present its light-armed helicopter, designed to replace an aging fleet of light helicopters such as MD500s and AH-1S Cobra. At the biennial event, some 1,000 companies from over 50 countries will showcase technologies in aviation and military capabilities.

The Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) unveiled its plan in November 2022 to mass-produce LAHs with an injection of 5.75 trillion won ($4.38 billion) by 2031. The LAH, carrying a 20-millimeter (0.7 inch) machine gun and four anti-tank missiles or 70mm rocket pods, can fly at a maximum speed of 324 kilometers (201 miles) per hour. The development of the attack helicopter was based on H-155, a twin-engine helicopter created by European aircraft maker Airbus. 

KAI said on February 21 that LAH will be displayed at the "2024 Singapore Air Show." The six-day event, which began on February 20, will be visited by more than 50,000 people from across the world. During this air show, KAI officials will meet with high-ranking government and military leaders from countries that already imported South Korean aircraft. The aircraft producer will examine the current status of their aircraft operations, and seek further export opportunities and new business opportunities.

KAI will also showcase other homemade fighter jets, including FA-50 and KF-21. FA-50 is a variant of the T-50 supersonic trainer aircraft, boasting a maximum takeoff weight of about 12,300 kilograms (27,117 pounds). KAI struck a $3 billion deal with Poland in September 2022 to sell 48 FA-50s to the European nation. KF-21, created to replace South Korea's aging fleet of U.S.-made F-4 and F-5 fighters, features a maximum speed of Mach 1.81 (2,234 kilometers per hour). 

Meanwhile, Black Eagles, South Korean Air Force's aerobatic team, will engage in an aerobatic show during the air show. Data provided by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) showed that South Korea's aircraft exports soared 320.5 percent year-on-year to a record high of some $1 billion in 2023. Out of this sum, exports to Poland reached $520 million. 
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