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Iraqi general visits S. Korea to examine KAI's Surion helicopter

By Yonhap

Published : March 13, 2024 - 09:19

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The KUH Surion (Korea Aerospace Industries) The KUH Surion (Korea Aerospace Industries)

A senior Iraqi Army general visited South Korea last week to look over a homegrown utility helicopter, sources said Wednesday, raising speculation over the Middle Eastern country's potential purchase of the aircraft.

Lt. Gen. Samir Zaki Hussein Al-Maliki, commander of Iraq's Army Aviation Command, arrived in South Korea on March 4 for a four-day visit to meet with South Korean military and defense company officials, according to the sources from the defense industry and relevant authorities.

The Iraqi general visited the headquarters of Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. in Sacheon, 296 kilometers southeast of Seoul, to check the company's KUH-1 helicopter, named the Surion.

He observed operations of a midsized variant of the Surion designed for the Coast Guard and boarded it.

Developed by KAI in 2012, the Surion is designed to replace the Army's aging fleet of UH-1H and 500MD helicopters and has been in service by the Army as a utility helicopter and an air ambulance.

The chopper has a maximum air speed of 270 kph and can carry up to 13 people, including two pilots, according to KAI.

During his trip, the general also met with Defense Minister Shin Won-sik and visited other major defense companies.

The visit came as Iraq is known to be considering acquiring a new small helicopter.

In 2013, KAI signed a deal with Iraq to supply 24 FA-50 light attack aircraft. KAI has yet to sign any export deals for the Surion. (Yonhap)