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South Korea Developing Next-Gen Vertical-Lift Helicopter

Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) is working on a next-generation vertical-lift helicopter to replace the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks of South Korea’s army, Janes revealed, citing a source.

KAI began research and development on the “next-generation high-maneuver helicopter” following the South Korean government’s issuance of requirements, the outlet added.

KAI plans to develop the aircraft similarly to the US Future Vertical Lift project.

It is reviewing the aircraft’s official specifications, including a “speed of 250 knots, take-off weight of 12,700 kilograms (28,000 pounds), cruising time of 25 hours, vertical ascent rate of 170 meters (558 feet) per minute, and a hovering altitude of 6,000 feet (1,829 meters).”

Similar to US Army Future Assault Aircraft 

KAI’s recently released concept rendering shows an aircraft with “co-axial, composite rotors and rear thrust propellers to achieve high speed,” the outlet wrote.

According to Aviacionline, the KAI concept is the same as Sikorsky/Boeing unveiled last year for its US Army Future Long Range Assault Aircraft proposal.

The outlet suggested that the similarities between the two aircraft concepts could result from a long association between the Korean aircraft manufacturer and the US defense giant Lockheed Martin.

The two companies collaborated on projects such as the licensed production of the F-16 aircraft in Korea and development of the T/FA-50 Golden Eagle advanced trainer and light attack aircraft.

It further added that Lockheed could later become involved in the Korean aircraft project.

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