South Korea Seeks Additional Attack Helicopters For Roka



April 09, 2021

By: Asian Military Review

South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has released new details about its plans to acquire more new attack helicopters for the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) under the second phase of its ongoing helicopter recapitalisation programme.

DAPA said in a 31 March statement that up to 36 attack helicopters worth around US$2.8 billion are being sought via a competitive bidding process to replace the RoKA’s Bell AH-1S attack helicopters by 2028. The new helicopters will add to the service’s current fleet of 36 Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardians acquired for US$1.6 billion under the first phase of the programme.

The helicopters to be considered are likely to include the latest AH-64E (V6) variant of the Apache, the maritime-optimised Bell AH-1Z Viper, and the Turkish Aerospace Industries T-129.

DAPA also noted that it has budgeted around US$760 million to develop an indigenous helicopter optimised for mine countermeasure operations, with local media reporting that the type will likely be based on Korea Aerospace Industries’ (KAI’s) MUH-1 Marineon utility helicopter in service with the

In its 31 March announcement DAPA also said that the committee earmarked KRW850 billion to locally develop a helicopter for use in mine countermeasure (MCM) operations. The project is slated to begin in 2022 and be completed eight years later, with Yonhap saying that the envisioned model is expected to be based on the MUH-1 Marineon in service with the RoK Navy (RoKN) and Marine Corps.

DAPA earlier announced in December 2020 that it has commenced the third round of bidding for new basic training helicopters for the RoKA and RoKN under the THX training helicopter programme worth US$161 billion. The effort aims to replace the RoKA’s ageing MD 500 and the RoKN’s UH-1H helicopters

The THX programme was initially launched in 2015 and was expected to have been concluded by 2019, but the first two bidding rounds in 2015 and 2018 failed to select a manufacturer.