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Korea begins prototype production of light armed chopper

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 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)

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