South Korea said Tuesday it has started to assemble the first prototype of a light armed helicopter with the goal of conducting a test flight in 2019.
The Defense Acquisition Program Administration, the country's arms procurement agency, launched the development project in June 2015 to replace the aging 500MD and AH-1S choppers in partnership with Korea Aerospace Industries.
A model of South Korea`s new light armed helicopter in a photo provided by the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (Yonhap)
A preliminary design was completed in August last year and the production of prototype components began in November, according to DAPA.
A critical design review is slated for October this year.
The LAH is in development in connection with a light civil helicopter for synergy between the two models to share a lot of parts, the agency said.
KAI, a local defense firm, aims to sell 1,000 LAH and LCH products at home and abroad, creating economic effects worth around 23 trillion won ($20 billion).
KAI earlier developed the Surion transport utility helicopter. (Yonhap)