Airbus and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) signed a USD$3 billion deal to allocate more than three hundred helicopters to South Korea. This includes two types of helicopters: Light Civil Helicopter (LCH)
and Light Armed Helicopter (LAH)
. The previous McDonnell Douglas 500MD Light Helicopters will be replaced once the Airbus fleets are completed. They plan to build around 214 LAHs and 100 LCHs over the course of twenty years, headed by the Defense Acquisition Program Administration and the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy. They chose Korean Aerospace Industries to head this program over Korean Air.
Both the LAH and LCH will be based on the make and design of Airbus Helicopter’s H155 and EC-155B1. The civilian rotorcrafts are expected to be released in 2021, with the military helicopters following a year later.
This is not the first contract between Airbus and KAI. In 2005, Airbus partnered with KAI for Surion, a series of transport choppers, which was showcased in 2009. These efforts are in hopes to increase South Korea’s aerospace industry. However, these efforts will also increase competition. Airbus teamed up with Korea Air for a joint bid of nearly $8 billion for 120 military fighter jets. In response, Korea Aerospace Industries joined Lockheed Martin to bid for the same contract. Results will be announced at the start of the summer.
Both companies have flourished throughout the years. In 2014, Lockheed Martin made over $45.6 billion in sales of IT services, training, aeronautical, missiles, space systems, and many other products. Lockheed Martin employs an average of 112,000 employees in and outside of the United States. Furthermore, Airbus Group
, previously known as European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company, is a leading manufacturer of aerospace planes and parts. Airbus employs more than 63,000 people and is owned in a joint stock by EADS and BAE Systems.
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