Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) held a groundbreaking ceremony for a rotary wing flight center in the Gasan Industrial Complex in Jinju, Gyeongsangnam-do, on Aug. 31.
KAI has pushed ahead with the construction of the rotary wing flight center by striking MOU and MOA with Jinju City since 2021.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the facility took place with KAI executives and Jinju officials, including KAI President Kang Goo-young and Jinju Mayor Cho Kyu-il.
The projected rotary wing flight center will house an office building, a hangar for helicopters, a runway and a parking ramp in a combined area covering 135,725 cubic meters. The center is to be dedicated in September 2024.
The planned rotary wing flight center is a facility for the rotary wing business, serving as one of the growth axes with the fixed wing business, and the former is expected to be expanded into an advanced facility to test future aircraft that will lead KAI’s second take-off.
KAI has pushed ahead with the construction of the rotary wing flight center to overcome the shortage of existing test-flight space, caused by the expanded exporting of FA-50s and full-fledged test flights of KF-21s.
Securing a new runway and additional test-flight space is expected to improve scheduling and save costs.
KAI plans to utilize the rotary wing flight center as an integrated flight center for test-flying future aircraft, such as an advanced air vehicle (AAV), now under development, and unmanned aircraft and educating pilots.
In his commemorative speech, KAI President Kang said, “The rotary wing flight center will be a space to lead future core technologies, beyond simple aircraft development and testing center, and it will contribute to developing the regional economy in western Gyeongsangnam-do, a growth center for the Korean future aerospace industry.”
KAI Teams Up with AH to Build Global Rotary Wing Sector Supply Chain Network
Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) signed a deal with Airbus Helicopters (AH) for 300 units of light armed helicopters (LAH) and Surions (KUH) expected in the next decade.
KAI and AH struck an LAH and KUH variants serial order contract at KAI headquarters in Sacheon, Gyeongsangnam-do, on Aug. 30.
The 300 units, agreed under the deal, include the mass production of LAH and variants and future export volumes of Korean Utility Helicopter (KUH), which has been successfully delivered and are now in operation.
A signing ceremony on the deal took place with Han Chang-heon, Executive Vice President, Rotorcraft Division of KAI and Matthieu Louvot, Executive Vice President, Programs of Airbus Helicopters, in attendance.
Starting with the development of KUH in 2006, both companies have been cooperating in the diverse rotary wing business areas, such as LAH, and they plan to expand their strategic partnership in the upcoming future business.
The signing of the latest deal is designed to raise the competitiveness in the global market by overcoming the unstable global supply chains through their mutual cooperation and securing stable volumes mutually.
KAI is expected to see stronger internal and external order competitiveness by establishing a flexible response regime corresponding to customers’ demands through stabilization of unit prices and deliveries.
AH has established a stable production system through continuous operation of its production network by securing long-terms kit orders.
“KAI is a long-time trusted partner with whom we have successfully developed several helicopter programs. We are happy to strengthen this strategic partnership with these agreements, where we will secure the delivery of these two highly performing platforms for many years to come,” said Louvot, Executive Vice President, Programs of Airbus Helicopters.
“The deal will contribute to raising increasing competitiveness of ‘K-defense’ industry, and we will continue to strengthen cooperation not only in the ongoing mass production business but variant and new development areas with AH, a global No. 1 leader in the global rotary wing market.”