KAI KUH-1 Surion Helicopter, South Korea

KAI KUH-1 Surion Helicopter

The KAI KUH-1 Surion is a twin-engine, transport utility helicopter developed primarily by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), Agency for Defense Development (ADD) and Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) jointly with Eurocopter. The Korea Helicopter Project – Korea Utility Helicopter (KHP-KUH) r&d program is to cost about 1.3 trillion won ($1.2 billion), and was launched in 2006 under the Agency for Defense Development. Full-scale production began in 2012 with KAI being the principal builder. Around 245 Surions are on order to replace the aging fleet of UH-1H utility helicopters and 500MD light utility helicopters, which have been in service for decades. South Korea will also build civilian and law enforcement variants of the helicopter.


In June 2006, KAI and Eurocopter won the KHP-KUH 1.3 trillion-won ($1.2 billion) research and development contract from the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) to start the project. It remains Seoul’s biggest arms deal ever with a non-US company.

The development of the aircraft was funded 84% by the South Korean government and 16% by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Eurocopter.

Power is provided by a pair of 1,600 shp Samsung Techwin T700-ST-701K turboshafts. Under the contract, T700/701K, co-developed by General Electric and Samsung Techwin, is the inaugural rear-drive T700 engine and features a -701D common core, high-efficiency counter rotating power turbine, and a new FADEC system.

1,600 shp Samsung Techwin T700-ST-701K turboshafts

Elbit Systems of Israel produces the Helmet mounted display (HMD), an advanced system which allow the pilot/copilot full day and night missions. A large IR suppressor exhausts of the Surion are adapted from those of the Eurocopter EC 725. The first prototype was unveiled by President Lee Myung-bak at an unveiling ceremony in Sacheon.

On 22 May 2013 it was announced that ten Surions had been deployed to the Army Aviation School in Nonsan, South Chungcheong Province following a handover ceremony attended by President Park Geun-hye.

In 2016, KAI plans to increase production of the helicopter from one per month to three per month.


KAI is offering the Surion to international markets for military and civilian purposes. They have received requests for proposals from two South American nations and another Asian nation. Marketing internationally is expected to ramp up in 2017, since the company has been preoccupied developing the Surion for several domestic purposes. KAI is focusing on countries they’ve had export success with for the T-50 Golden Eagle and KT-1 trainer.


 KUH-1 Surion
  The basic military utility helicopter used by the Republic of Korea        Army.


A medical evacuation variant. The development of the new variant of the Surion, or Korea Utility Helicopter (KUH), will take place up until 2016.


A planned land and sea-based amphibious variant for the Republic of Korea Marine Corps, it will have a 96 percent part commonality with the Surion. Modifications will include an integrated flotation system, an auxiliary fuel tank, and specialised radio equipment. The Marine Surion first flew on 19 January 2015. It will have a folding main rotor to serve aboard Dokdo-class amphibious assault ships.Type certification is planned by November 2015, with a production contract for 36-40 helicopters expected in 2016.

KAI, Airbus to co-develop naval chopper: Here


KUH-ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare)

A naval variant equipped with torpedoes and anti-ship missiles.

KUH-1P Chamsuri

Korean Police version (KUH-1P/ Chamsuri) – Surion utility helicopter chosen by the Korean National Police Agency (KNPA) for its Police Helicopter Project. Equipped with a weather radar, traffic collision avoidance system, inertial navigation system, and an external hoist and cameras for rescue duties (extra electronics are needed compared to ordinary police helicopters for operations near North Korea, which frequently conducts jamming operations).



 Republic of Korea
  • Republic of Korea Army: 245 KUH-1 Surions on order. The deliveries, which started in 2012, will take for eight to ten years.
  • Republic of Korea Marine Corps: 40 amphibious variant planned. Sources indicate the Marine Corps will operate the Surion, including deliveries to 2023, while the Army will operate both the UH-60 and the Surion.
  • National Police Agency: 2 KUH-1P aircraft ordered, both delivered by 12 February 2014. In December of 2013, KAI received an additional order from National Police Agency. A third will be added in late 2015, and a fourth in 2017



Data from

General characteristics

  • Crew: two pilots + two gunners + nine troops , or two pilots + 16 troops
  • Capacity: 18
  • Length: 19.0 m (with main Rotor), 15.09 m (without Rotor) (62.3 ft, 49.5 ft)
  • Rotor diameter: 15.8 m, tail 3.15 m (51.8 ft, 11.5 ft)
  • Height: 4.5 m (14.8 ft)
  • Empty weight: 4,973 kg (10,964 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 7,348 kg (16,200 lb)
  • Useful load: 3,753 kg (8,274 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 8,709 kg (19,200 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Samsung Techwin T700-ST-701K (T700-GE-701C variant) turboshaft, 1,228 kw (1,647 shp) each



  • Missiles: (planned in development) 6 x BGM-71 TOW, or up to 4 rocket pod




Like us on FB page World Military Forum for up-to-date weapons and military news

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s