South Korea's DAPA Announces Light Armed Helicopter Delivery Plans

First LAH will be handed over to the South Korean military in 2024
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  • 11:54 AM, January 19, 2024
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South Korea's DAPA Announces Light Armed Helicopter Delivery Plans
Light Armed Helicopter @Korean Defense Acquisition Program

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) disclosed on Friday its plan to deliver the first model of the newly developed Light Armed Helicopter (LAH) to the South Korean Army this year, marking a step towards replacing the aging helicopter fleet.

The LAH model is currently in the final stages of assembly and is expected to undergo inspections before deployment, according to DAPA. In December 2022, DAPA signed a 302 billion-won ($225.6 million) contract with Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. (KAI) to build 10 LAHs, with delivery targeted for December this year.

Last month, DAPA signed another deal with KAI worth 1.4 trillion won for an undisclosed number of additional LAHs.

South Korea initiated the LAH development project in 2015, investing 653.9 billion won over eight years to replace the Army's aging 500MD and AH-1S Cobra attack helicopters.

The LAH is expected to be equipped with various armaments, including the Taipers air-to-ground missile, which purportedly has double the range of existing anti-tank missiles, along with 2.75-inch rockets and a 20-millimeter turret gun, according to DAPA.

DAPA also outlined additional features, such as a target acquisition designation system to detect threats in the chopper's frontal airspace, an integrated digital map computer to reduce pilot workload, and defensive equipment designed to protect the helicopter from various anti-air threats.

The domestically developed Taipers missile is anticipated to be deployed from 2026, starting mass production this year. South Korea completed the missile's development in 2022 under an eight-year project aimed at reducing reliance on imported air-to-ground missiles.

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