Leonardo's AW159 is designed for maritime and utility missions. Photo courtesy of Leonardo.
The CH/HH-47D Performance Improvement Project and the Marine Operational Helicopter Project were on the agenda during South Korea’s 99th Defense Business Promotion Committee meeting, according to a Defense Acquisition Program Admin. (DAPA) notice. Held Jan. 17, the meeting took place in the South Korean Ministry of National Defense.
The project concerning the Boeing Chinook aims to improve operational performance and continuous operation of those in service with the South Korean Army and Air Force. The country plans to look to domestic companies that have relationships with foreign companies to perform these improvements. The notice has the project occurring from 2018 to 2028. After performance improvement is completed, the helicopter’s engine, cockpit and automatic flight control system will be up for replacing. Other avionics and equipment could also be up for replacement.
The first part of the Marine Operational Helicopter Project, which aims to secure a ship-mounted helicopter, had previously been completed. Last year, a Leonardo AW159 was delivered. It was the second part that was up for discussion at the meeting. According to the notice, the Defense Business Promotion Committee deliberated and voted to have the second part of the project also include a foreign purchase, with economics a large deciding factor. Some potential purchases include the AW159, the Sikorsky MH-60R and the NHIndustries NH90. The marine helicopter project carries added importance, as the notice mentions it will also act as a response to militaristic threats posed by North Korea.