KAI KUH-1 Surion

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KUH-1 Surion
Model on display at Farnborough 2012
Role Medium transport helicopter
Manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI)
First flight March 10, 2010[1]
Status In service[2]
Primary user Republic of Korea Army
Produced 2010-present

The KAI KUH-1 Surion is a twin-engine, transport utility helicopter developed primarily by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), Agency for Defense Development (ADD) and Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) jointly with Eurocopter. The Korea Helicopter Project - Korea Utility Helicopter (KHP-KUH) program is to cost about 1.3 trillion won ($1.05 billion, €0.75 billion), and was launched in 2006 under the Agency for Defense Development.[3][4] Full-scale production begun in 2012 with KAI being the principal builder.[4][5] Around 245 Surions are on order to replace the aging fleet of UH-1H attack helicopters and 500MD light helicopters,[4] which have been in service for decades. South Korea will also build civilian variants of the helicopter, marketing around 300 Surions.[4]


In June 2006, KAI and Eurocopter won the KHP-KUH 1.3 trillion-won research and development contract (€0.85 billion=) from the Defense Acquisition Program Administration(DAPA) to start the project. It remains Seoul's biggest arms deal ever with a non-US company. A production contract worth about 4.4 trillion won (€2.9 billion) is expected to be signed around 2011 before the start of mass production. Eurocopter has a stake of 30 percent in the 2006-2012 development phase and 20 percent in the following 10-year production phase, and KAI and South Korea government having the rest. As the prime sub-contractor, Eurocopter has provided technical assistance in parts of developing the power transmission, main gear box, boom and tail gearboxes, automatic flight control system and rotor mast.[4] Eurocopter experts were dispatched in KAI premises (Sacheon, South Korea) to provide support and teach KAI engineers the state of the art in helicopter design.[4]

Power is provided by a pair of 1,600 shp General Electric T700 turboshafts. Elbit Systems of Israel produces the Helmet mounted display (HMD), an advanced system which allow the pilot/copilot full day and night missions. A large IR suppressor exhausts of the Surion are adapted from those of the Eurocopter EC 725. The first prototype was unveiled by President Lee Myung-bak at an unveiling ceremony in Sacheon.[6]

In 2009, there was a delay in the program due to budget trimming of some ministries.[7]

On 22 May 2013 it was announced that 10 Surions had been deployed to the Army Aviation School in Nonsan, South Chungcheong Province following a handover ceremony attended by President Park Geun-hye.[8]


KAI is offering the Surion to international markets for military and civilian purposes. They have received requests for proposals from two South American nations and another Asian nation.[9]


The following variants were planned by KAI aside from the manufacture of the Surion.[3]

Korean Attack Helicopter (KAH)
Planned attack variant. One of the variants is for the "Full Development for Attack Configuration", sharing 60% part commonality with the Surion. Another is the "KUH Tandem Cockpit", having a 70% part commonality. This is a reconstructed attack helicopter modification that combines the Surion with the weapon systems of an attack helicopter.[citation needed]
A medical evacuation variant, it will have a 91% part commonality with the Surion.[citation needed]
A planned land and sea-based amphibious variant for the Republic of Korea Marine Corps, it will have a 96% part commonality with the Surion. Modifications will include an integrated flotation system, an auxiliary fuel tank, and specialised radio equipment. Production is planned to commence in late 2015, with some 40 helicopters planned.[10]


 Republic of Korea
  • Republic of Korea Marine Corps: 40 amphibious variant planned. Sources indicate the Marine Corps will operate the Surion, including deliveries to 2023, while the Army will operate both the Apache and the Surion.[11]


General characteristics

  • Crew: 2 pilots + 2 gunners + 9 troops , or 2 pilots + 16 troops
  • Capacity: 18
  • Length: 19.0 m (with main Rotor), 15.09 m (without Rotor) (62.3 ft, 49.5 ft)
  • Rotor diameter: 15.8 m, tail 3.15 m (51.8 ft, 11.5 ft)
  • Height: 4.5 m (14.8 ft)
  • Empty weight: 4973 kg (10,964 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 16200 lb (mission weight), 3753 kg / 8275 lb (with sling) ???? ()
  • Max. takeoff weight: 8,709 kg (19,200 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Samsung Techwin T700-ST-701K (T700-GE-701C variant) turboshaft, Maximum rated power (10 min) 1383 kW/1855 shp or Intermediate Rated Power (30 min) 1325 kW/1777 shp or Thrust ratings (MAX) 1915 shp () each



  • Missiles: (planned in development) 6 x BGM-71 TOW, or up to 4 rocket pod



See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. ^ Kwon, Kyongsong (March 29, 2013). "South Korea's Utility Helo Makes Maiden Flight". Korea News. hankooki.com. Retrieved March 31, 2013. 
  2. ^ Jung, Sung-ki (March 11, 2010). "South Korea's KAI Surion finishes development". Defence News. Army Times Publishing Company. Retrieved March 11, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Wendell Minnick and Jung Sung-Ki (2009-10-23). "S. Korea's Defense Industry Shows Progress at Show". Defense News. Retrieved 2010-04-12. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "KAI and Eurocopter reveal the Surion". Shepard. 2009-07-31. Retrieved 2010-04-12. 
  5. ^ "백두산 높이서도 작전 수행 “이상 無”" (in Korean). Yahoo Korea. 2009-07-31. Retrieved 2010-04-12. 
  6. ^ "Surion: Eurocopter’s Korean KHP/KUH Helicopter Deal". Defense Industry Daily. 2009-08-04. Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  7. ^ Siva Govindasamy (2009-01-10). "South Korea to delay indigenous fighter, attack helicopter programmes". Flight International. Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  8. ^ Kang Seung-woo (2013-05-22). "Army deploys Surion Copters". Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-05-23. 
  9. ^ KAI eyes export market for Surion - Flightglobal.com, 30 October 2013
  10. ^ KAI to develop amphibious assault variant of Surion - Flightglobal.com, April 18, 2013
  11. ^ http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/awx_04_18_2013_p0-570744.xml