LONDON – AgustaWestland bolstered its bid to supply the South Korean navy with new shipboard helicopters by signing a memorandum of understanding for training and support with South Korean company Dodaam Systems.
The Italian company previously supplied 23 Super Lynx helicopters for operation from South Korean guided missile destroyers on anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare missions. It is now bidding the AW159 multi-role helicopter – a major development of the earlier Lynx – for the Asian nation’s Maritime Operational Helicopter (MOH) contract. Also in the competition is Sikorsky’s MH-60R, which the company hopes to supply under a Foreign Military Sales contract.
On Sept. 6, AgustaWestland signed an agreement to work with Dodaam Systems to supply simulation and training systems if it wins the contract, which might be awarded by the end of this year.
“We’ve agreed to work together on training solutions in Korea,” said Andrew Symonds, AgustaWestland’s vice president, northeast Asia. “We’ve worked with Dodaam in the past, but not extensively.”
Previously, AgustaWestland provided cockpit procedural trainers and other training materials. But because the Korean Navy’s fleet of Lynx-family helicopters could grow past 30, Symonds said AgustaWestland thinks “the time is right to establish something more comprehensive in the training field.”
The South Korean Lynx fleet currently operates out of a central base, which Symonds declined to identify, citing South Korea’s heavy emphasis on security. He said concentrating training into a single center would be an “ideal solution,” and a full mission simulator and cockpit procedural trainers would form part of the package.
“We would provide the training parameters, and Dodaam would go off and provide [the equipment]. We would be very keen to provide expertise regarding training needs analysis and how any equipment should work. I know [Dodaam] are very ambitious and are looking overseas to provide training solutions.”
AgustaWestland may become more involved in South Korean training if it is successful in a series of approaching military competitions. These include the Attack Helicopter (AH-X) and Light Armed Helicopter (LAH) programs. The company also has hopes of extending its existing presence in paramilitary and public service organizations such as the South Korean Coast Guard and national police service.