KAI Surion developed with Airbus Helicopters is chosen as attack helicopter for the South Korean Marines

In the Asia-Pacific region, the strengthening of Chinese naval capacities pushes many countries to develop their Marines corps. This is particularly the case in South Korea, which decided in the early 2010s to equip the Republic of Korea Marines Corps with its own helicopters. With around 30.000 men, the ROKMC must gradually equip itself with two amphibious maneuver helicopter battalions and a battalion of combat helicopters.

Very quickly, the ROKMC selected the KUH-1 Surion transport helicopter developed jointly by the national KAI and France based Airbus Helicopters. The naval version of the Surion was designated MUH-1 Marineon, and flew for the first time in 2015. Thirty aircraft were ordered for the ROKMC to equip the Dokdo-class amphibous helicopter carriers. However, the commercial battle was still raging over the future ROKMC attack helicopters, since there was no off-the-shelf solution in Korea. Until recently, when the defense acquisition agency DAPA announced that a attack variant of the Surion was going to be selected to equip the ROKMC.

For its future MAH-1, KAI is planning heavy armament. The front of the cabin will no doubt be occupied by the weapon system, but the helicopter will retain troop and material transport capabilities. Photo source Gareth Jennings on Twitter

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