KAI announced today that it has completed successfully the first flight of the initial LAH prototype. The test with two flight pilots on board was conducted in KAI's headquarters for about 20 minutes.
Setting out for the development of the LAH in June 2015, KAI finished its basic design and critical design in August 2016 and November 2017, respectively, followed by the [presentation] of its prototype in December 2018.
Starting in January this year, KAI conducted the ground test to confirm the main systems and their stability. On the First Flight Readiness Review held in June, the company obtained approval for the LAH’s flight test.
This video on the South Korean Military Channel was posted on July 4, when the LAH made its first flight. The video said LAH is on track to complete development by 2022 to replace the aging MD500 Defender.
The LAH is equipped with state-of-the-art avionics suite and the 1,032 horsepower-class new engines. KAI envisions developing the LAH as a far more upgraded copter than those currently operating armed one, which will contribute to reinforcing the air power of the Korean military in the years to come.
“I am thankful to all the people who made efforts for the successful first flight on the LAH,” said KAI CEO Kim Jo-won. “We will make an aircraft in which the military and the people can trust via the more through flight test evaluation, given that we started to enter the turning point of the development stage.”
The first flight test was conducted at KAI headquarters at Sacheon on April 4.
-- One of the two pilots was an army test pilot. After taking off about 10m from the ground, LAH has successfully completed its in-flight, forward flight, side flight and turn directions, and has entered the full-fledged flight test phase, demonstrating flight control performance and stability.
-- KAI plans to conduct tests to demonstrate LAH flight performance and armament capability for about three years until the second half of 2022, depending on military requirements.
-- It will start mass production after proving during the initial test evaluation period that the performance meets military requirements such as flight speed, elevation, and in-flight altitude, under the main mission weight.
-- The system is also planned to be completed in November 2022 after a follow-up test that proves the capability of weapons of air-to-air missiles, machine guns and rockets.
The LAH is a variant of the Airbus Helicopters Dauphin/Panther family, fitted with a more powerful Turboméca turboshaft and other improvements.