The first T-50 advanced jet trainer for the Indonesian Air Force has been flown in Korea by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). The first export order for the T-50 was placed in 2011, and is worth $400 million for 16 aircraft, according to the Indonesians.
Korea Aerospace Industries
The first NH-90 Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) in final operational configuration was delivered to the French Army on January 30. “This is the culmination of the most important helicopter program ever launched in Europe,” said Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling. Earlier deliveries of the TTH version to Australia, Germany and Sweden attracted criticism in those countries for various deficiencies. But Eurocopter said that the final configuration includes field-tested avionics that enable the helicopter to carry out its missions night and day with no major restrictions.
Ongoing major requirements and a growing defense budget in the Republic of Korea prompted a big showing by major aerospace companies from Europe and Israel, as well as the U.S., at the Seoul Air Show in mid-October. Show organizers claimed that nearly two-thirds of the 313 exhibitors were from 30 foreign countries.
Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) is courting outside manufacturers to participate in its KF-X stealth fighter program. This program is expected to produce more than 120 aircraft for South Korea’s air force, and may be offered as an export to interested countries. The program’s total cost could reach $8 billion, which is causing the government of South Korea to hesitate in giving its approval.
Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) flew the prototype of its Surion utility helicopter for the first time on March 10. Flown by two pilots and with a test engineer aboard, the Surion took off for a 30-minute maiden flight at Sacheon air base, near Korea’s south coast, and performed hovering and hover turns.
Eurocopter has reported progress on two major programs on which it cooperates in Asia: the civil EC 175, in China, and the military Korean Utility Helicopter (KUH), in South Korea–both seven-metric-ton-class helicopters.
Korea Aerospace Industries and Mitsui Bussan Aerospace will collaborate with Bell to “develop, certify, produce and market the 427i light twin IFR helicopter.” The 427i will have IFR capability, as well as increased cabin size and performance over the current VFR-only 427, according to Bell. Certification of the 427i is scheduled for early 2007, with deliveries to begin shortly thereafter.
Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling made it clear at a press conference here in Paris that there will be no synergy between the Korean Helicopter Program (KHP) and the EC 175. Although these two programs share the same class–seven metric tons (5,400 pounds)–and the same timing–first flight in mid 2009–they are completely different, he asserted.
Under a memorandum of agreement (MoA) between Bell Helicopter and Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) signed yesterday, the latter is to begin production of airframes for the Bell 429 light twin IFR helicopter. With an estimated value of more than $150 million, the agreement is projected to cover all Bell 429 airframes for the next 10 years.
Smiths Aerospace is focusing on its advanced integrated systems capabilities here at Asian Aerospace (Stand A731), where capabilities on such trainer and combat aircraft as Hawk, T-50, HJT36, F-35 and UAVs are featured.