The supply of KUH-1 Surion utility helicopters to the South Korean Army has been halted after the aircraft reportedly failed cold-weather tests performed earlier, according to Korean media reports.
Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Airbus Helicopters co-developed the aircraft to replace the country’s fleet of UH-1Hs and 500MDs. As part of the contract with the Defense Acquisition Program Admin. (DAPA), the manufacturer was to make about 200 more by 2023.
The aircraft was reportedly performing cold-weather safety tests in Michigan last winter. Media reports cite a DAPA spokesperson as saying that more ice had built up than was allowable on the aircraft engine’s air inlet, and the 53 aircraft that have already been delivered and assigned around the peninsula since 2013 will likely not be operable until the problem is a addressed.
A KAI official spoke to Korean media to say the manufacturer plans to redesign the necessary parts to undergo further testing.
Korea Aerospace Industry’s Surion performed cold-weather testing in Alaska in 2012.