Seoul is Shopping for Naval ASW Helicopter to Augment its Surface Combatants

Lockheed Martin expects to deliver the first two completed MH-60R aircraft of an eventual 24 to the Australian Navy in the first quarter of 2014. Photo: Lockheed Martin

South Korea has requested buying eight MH-60R SEAHAWK Multi-Mission Helicopters through the U.S. Foreign Military Sale (FMS), the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified U.S. Congress Tuesday, May 16. The estimated cost of the complete package is estimated to be around $1.0 billion.

South Korea is considering several models of ASW helicopters to equip its frigates and destroyers,with improved anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare capabilities.

The Surion based Korean Haval Helicopter (KNH)

The MH-60R is one of the models being considered for the MHX, the future helicopter for the South Korean Navy. Other competitors expected to be considered include AgustaWestland offering the AW159 Lynx Wildcat – a new model replacing the Navy Lynx 99 currently used by the Korean Navy, offering about 1000 lbs (470 kg) increase in maximum take-off weight. Other competitors likely to bid are NH Industries offering a navalized version of the NH90. The naval version of the Surion, developed by an industry team led by Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Eurocopter is also being considered with Israel’s Elbit Systems providing avionics and mission systems. Seoul is expected to select the winning bidder in October.