Amphibious version of Surion completes first flight


KAI conducted the first test flight of the Korean Marine Corps Surion variant on Jan. 19. Korea Aerospace Industries Photos

Korea Aerospace Industries has announced that its Korean Utility Helicopter for Korean Marine Corps has completed a first test flight successfully on Jan. 19 in Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province.

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The first flight test with two test pilots and two technicians onboard took wing for about 30 minutes. Test items included ground tests, including forward flight, backward flight and a change of direction as well as hovering flight and a change of direction after a rise up to 80 feet about the ground. All the tests were completed successfully.

The Korean Utility Helicopter (KUH), an amphibious aircraft, is a derivative of Korea’s first airmobile Surion and was manufacturer to fit into the warship/marine environment by applying the marine mission equipment and shipboard operations technologies with its fuselage optimized.

The KUH is equipped with tactical air navigation (TACAN), high frequency radios, emergency floats which enable the pilots to protect their escape time and the fuselage upon emergency landing at sea, and an auxiliary fuel tank for a long-haul ocean flight. KAI improved the retractable method of the main rotor to ban the body of the KUH from being corroded and to make the shipboard operations easier.

Setting out for its full-fledged development in July 2013, KAI plans to verify the new equipment and flight performance of the KUH in diverse environments, including cold weather and shipboard operation tests as it finished the helicopter’s shakedown flight, scheduled for completion at the end of 2015.


The KUH comes equipped with tactical air navigation, high frequency radios, emergency floats and an auxiliary fuel tank.

The Korean Marine Corps expects that the development of the KUH could enhance the ability of its independent landing operations and stepping forward, improve an operational radius and mobility of the Marine Corps.

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Starting from the Surion-based helicopter for the Korean Police Agency in 2012, KAI developed various versions, like the KUH and the medevac variants, and validated the flight performance and expandability of the derivative helicopters. The company is scheduled to develop a helicopter for the purposes of the Korean military and the government and pins high hopes on foraying into overseas export markets as well.

“As the development of the various Surion-based helicopters draws keen attention of the southeast, east, Middle East and South American nations, we are doing a brisk marketing activity,” said an official at KAI. “KAI anticipates that the first export of the Surion helicopter will be made at an earlier date than expected.”

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