KAI is marketing a new UAV for the first time at the Singapore Airshow. The D/K tactical combat, dubbed the 'Devil Killer,' is a prototype reconnaissance UAV capable of carrying a small bomb, the KAI official said. (Wendell Minnick/Staff)
SINGAPORE — Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) revealed new details at the Singapore Airshow about export plans for the Surion helicopter, D/K tactical combat unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), and the T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic aircraft.
“We are marketing the Surion helicopter to Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Eastern European,” said a KAI official. Possible sales include Indonesia, Iraq, Peru, Philippines, and Turkey.
The 8.7-ton class Surion is a multi-purpose utility helicopter with a range of variants, including amphibious, anti-submarine warfare/maritime patrol, medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), search-and-rescue (SAR), police, and coast guard.
The Surion will replace Korea’s aging UH-1H helicopters. The first prototype rolled out in July 2009 and was followed by its first flight in March 2010. It has a digital glass cockpit, advanced articulated hub, crashworthy frame, 4-axis automatic flight control system, and is powered by a newly designed GE T700-701K engine with full authority digital engine control.
The KAI official said that 24 Surion transport variants were delivered to the Korean army in December 2013 and two police variants to the National Police Agency. The army signed a contract for 66 Surions for the Korean army in December 2013. The Korean army plans to procure 250 in total. The National Policy Agency wants at least 20 aircraft, which will include VIP and SAR variants. The army plans to use the Surions for air assault operations and transport operations. “We also signed a contract in 2013 to supply 22 amphibious variants for the Korean Marine Corps and eight units of MEDEVACs for the army.”
KAI is also marketing a new UAV for the first time at the Singapore Airshow. The D/K tactical combat, dubbed the “Devil Killer,” is a prototype reconnaissance UAV capable of carrying a small bomb, the KAI official said.
The D/K is a small UAV with a weight of only 55 lbs. It can be launched from various vehicles using air compression or rocket booster. With a range of 25 miles, the UAV can be launched from a ship or a road vehicle.
Some analysts, due to the fact it can be used to strike ground targets or ships when outfitted with a bomb, have dubbed the vehicle the “suicide” or “kamikaze” UAV, but KAI would not elaborate on this aspect.
KAI did confirm that the company was in negotiations with the Philippines for 12 T-50 jet aircraft for combat missions. “It will be designated the T-50ph,” the KAI official said. “We are in the final stage of negotiations with Manila and are awaiting a decision.”
So far KAI has delivered 16 T-50i aircraft to Indonesia under a 2011 contract. “These aircraft have been delivered,” and production started in 2013 for 24 T-50 aircraft for Iraq, he said.
KAI is expanding its marketing to include Latin America and Africa.
The T-50 is also competing for the US T-X competition for 350 trainers to replace the T-38 Talon. The T-50 will face down the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master trainer and BAE Systems Hawk 128 Advanced Jet Trainer. In December, Boeing and Saab signed a joint development agreement to develop and build a T-X training solution for the competition.
The KAI official said that the T-50 Golden Eagle was the export variant of the FA-50 Fighting Eagle deployed with the Korean air force. The aircraft’s configuration has earned it the nickname “Mini F-16.” The Korean air force also flies the T-50B aerobatic aircraft for its demonstration team, the Black Eagles, outfitted with an enhanced smoke oil tank and cameras. The FA-50 has greater survivability systems such as multi-mode radar, radar warning receiver, chaff and flare dispenser, tactical data link, and smart weapon capability that includes the Joint Direct Attack Munition (GBU-38) and the CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapon.