SEOUL, South Korea --- Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Eurocopter reinforce their industrial cooperation through the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Thursday 18 October at Seoul Air Show.
The signing ceremony was graced by the presence of the CEOs from both entities: Mr. Chung Hae Joo (KAI) and Dr. Lutz Bertling (Eurocopter).
The objective of the above MOU is to create a Joint Venture (JV) Company for the worldwide promotion of the Korean Utility Helicopter (KUH), an 8 metric-ton class military/utility transport helicopter.
The JV will be in operation by 2010. With a shareholding structure of 51% for KAI and 49 % ownership for Eurocopter, the newly-established company will be responsible for the sale and marketing of the KUH on the export market, which is estimated to reach an order of 300 helicopters.
This signature further highlights the successful launch of the KUH program in Korea in 2006.
Indeed, this is the largest defence contract ever signed with a European company. The Republic of Korea has a plan to buy from KAI, which is prime contractor for this program, around 250 KUH.
For this unprecedented program, Eurocopter role is to provide technical assistance for the development of the helicopter as well as certain sub-assemblies. About 40 Eurocopter engineers are thus housed at Sacheon (Korea) to render their ultimate technical assistance to KAI.
The Korean Helicopter Program (KHP) is to develop a military utility/transport helicopter (KUH, Korean Utility Helicopter) in the eight-metric-ton class. The KUH is to replace Bell UH-1Hs and McDonnell Douglas 500MDs in the South Korean Army fleet, and first deployment is scheduled in 2012. In late 2005, Eurocopter was chosen as the primary partner of KAI on the program. Eurocopter provides technical assistance and will also supply the KUH’s transmission system and autopilot.
As a sole aircraft system integrator in Korea, KAI was established in October 1999 through consolidation of Korea’s aerospace capabilities. Located its headquarter in Sacheon, southern area of peninsula, KAI has 2,800 employees. KT-1 and T-50 have been produced through success of development and as one of main products, KAI launched a full scale development program of KHU on June 2006. Besides production of these aircraft, KAI has businesses in manufacturing aero-structures parts, upgrading aircraft upgrades and satellite. KAI has been progressively widening its export market with KT-1 and T-50 and expects also to grow its market potential through the KHP.
Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a Division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defence and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approx. 14,000 people. In 2006, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer with a turnover of 3.8 billion euros, orders for 615 new helicopters, and a 52% percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors. More than 9,800 Eurocopter helicopters are currently in service with over 2,800 customers in 140 countries. Eurocopter offers the largest civil and military helicopter range in the world.