Three years after the launch of the Korean Helicopter Program in 2006, Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Eurocopter celebrated the Rollout of the first Korean Utility Helicopter (KUH) prototype last week. The helicopter is scheduled to perform its first flight by early 2010, with initial deliveries commencing in 2012. The Republic of Korea Army (ROKA) is planning to buy 245 KUH helicopters.
The Republic of Korea Armed forces are currently flying about 700 helicopters, with utility missions performed by the the UH-1H Iroquise helicopters. The new eight ton military transport helicopter is destined to replace existing utility helicopters in the South Korean Army fleet.
KAI is the system Integrator of the helicopter with, Eurocopter acting as the premier international partner assisting in technical design and providing the gear boxes, rotor mast and autopilot. In 2007 the two companies established a joint venture company to commercialize the KUH in export market, which is estimated to reach an order of 300 helicopters worldwide.