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KAI KUH-1 Surion

South Korea (2013)
Picture of KAI KUH-1 Surion Medium-Lift Multi-Role Transport Helicopter

The South Korean government has planned to procure several hundred of the KAI KUH-1 Surion for its Army and Marine forces.


Detailing the development and operational history of the KAI KUH-1 Surion Medium-Lift Multi-Role Transport Helicopter.  Entry last updated on 6/14/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) is largely recognized in military markets for its capable KAI/Lockheed product known as the T-50 "Golden Eagle", an advanced, two-seat jet-powered trainer with secondary combat qualities. The aircraft was introduced in 2005 and has seen some 82 built in trainer and attack configurations. Relatively new to the KAI lineup is the KUH-1 "Surion", a medium-lift transport helicopter of indigenous South Korean development and manufacture. The Surion was born from the 2006 "Korea Helicopter Project - Korea Utility Helicopter" (KHP-KUH) initiative which ultimately produced the working product by 2010 (and gave it its "KUH" portion of the designation). The South Korean Army has since taken delivery of some ten or more helicopters and these serving to train army aviators. The Republic of Korea Army (ROKA) expects to procure some 245 units in all and these will serve to replace an outgoing helicopter attack fleet consisting of Cold War-era, American-originated Bell UH-1 "Huey"/"Iroquois" gunship helicopters as well as their lighter Hughes/McDonnell Douglas 500MD counterparts.

Design and development of the KUH-1 was completed, in part, with assistance from Eurocopter engineers and, as such, takes on a decidedly European appearance with its rounded edges, deep fuselage and roof-mounted twin engine configuration - an appearance not unlike the French Eurocopter/Airbus "Super Puma" line.

The Surion's cockpit seats two (side-by-side) and is conventionally set at the front aft of a short nose assembly. The cockpit sports heavy use of bulletproof windscreens (up to 7.62mm small arms) to supply optimal views and improve situational awareness. Each pilot is granted access to a Helmet-Mounted Display (HMD) system built by the Israeli concern of Elbit. The passenger cabin is spacious and can be outfitted with various components to suit mission requirements - moving combat infantry, wounded or equipment. The main rotor blade features four blades and sits low against the roofline, coupled with an anti-torque four-bladed tail rotor offset to starboard on the tail fin. The tail fin also features a portside horizontal plane. The passenger cabin is accessed through windowed sliding doors along the sides. The engines are mounted over the passenger cabin and are well-contoured for aerodynamic efficiency while being aspirated through two intakes at the front of the design, just aft of the cockpit. The undercarriage is wheeled and consists of three legs - two main single-wheeled units and a double-tired nose leg. Safety features include several wire cutters over and under the cockpit, crashworthy airframe and sealed fuel tanks against 12.7mm/14.5mm heavy small arms.

Power is through 2 x Samsung Techwin T700-ST-701K turboshaft engines rated at up to 1,915 shaft horsepower driving the main and tail rotors. These engines are based on the American General Electric T700-GE-701C series turboshafts. The aircraft sports a cruising speed of 160 miles per hour with a range out to 260 miles and service ceiling nearing 9,850 feet. The craft can reach a rate-of-climb of 1,700 feet per minute. Other specifications include a running length of 62 feet with a rotor diameter of 52 feet and height of 15 feet. Empty weight is listed at 11,000lb with a Maximum Take-Off Weight of 19,200lb.

The Surion is outfitted with the latest in military hardware expected of a modern medium-lift combat platform. This includes GPS navigation, a moving digital map, integrated countermeasures and situational awareness, fatigue reduction qualities, radar/missile warning receivers, and FLIR among others.

In addition to the two operating crew, the aircraft will be able to transport up to sixteen passengers in all. A pair of door gunners can also be deployed though with a slightly reduced passenger-hauling capability. In this way, the aircraft can provide its own self-defense measure through deployment of 2 x 7.62mm General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMGs) on trainable pintle mounts.
Beyond the standard transport model, KAI expects to offer their KUH-1 line in several major configuration types including a dedicated attack platform, an amphibious model to serve South Korean marines and a mission-critical MEDEVAC version. The Surion product is expected to be offered for export to serve South Korean-allied nations.

In the direct-contact armed combat role, the Surion gunship model will feature support for 6 x Hughes BGM-71 TOW wire-guided anti-tank (AT) missiles across hardpoints found on attachable wingstubs. In place of the missile armament for use against armored targets, the helicopter will also support the fielding of rocket and cannon pods for use against "soft" skinned vehicles and troop concentrations.

Production of Surion helicopters began in 2010 and is ongoing as of March 2014. KAI also produces a local variant of the General Dynamics / Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon as the KF-16.

February 2015 - Twenty-eight Surion helicopters had been delivered to the Republic of Korea Army from the total of 217 ordered. The Republic of Korea Marine Corps is currently awaiting delivery of their first of 40 aircraft.

October 2017 - At Seoul ADEX 2017, a MEDEVAC variant of the KAI Surion was unveiled to the public. The example was presented complete with a rescue hoist installed and promoted radar fit. Over 70 Surions are currently in service with 65 available to the South Korean Army. Some thirty examples are slated for service with the South Korean Marines.

June 2018 - The military of Phillipines has shown interest in the Surion helicopter series following its canceling of an order for Bell helicopters.




General Assessment (BETA)
Firepower  
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Performance  
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Survivability  
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Versatility  
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Impact  
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Rating: 56 (of 100)
The rating is an internal assessment derived from forty factors pertaining to this entry.
Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (162mph).

    Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
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LON
 
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  MOS
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Graph showcases the KAI KUH-1 Surion's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
72
72


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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Origin: South Korea
Year: 2013
Type: Medium-Lift Multi-Role Transport Helicopter
Manufacturer(s): Korea Aerospace Industires (KAI) - South Korea
Production: 72
Status: Active, In-Service
Global Operators:
Philippines (possible); South Korea
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the KAI KUH-1 Surion model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
2


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
62.34 ft


Meters
19 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
51.84 ft


Meters
15.8 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
14.76 ft


Meters
4.5 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
11,023 lb


Kilograms
5,000 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
19,180 lb


Kilograms
8,700 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
2 x Samsung Techwin T700-ST-701K turboshaft engines developing 1,915 shaft horsepower driving a four-bladed main rotor and four-bladed tail rotor.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
162 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
260 kph


Knots
140 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
311 mi


Kilometers
500 km


Nautical Miles
270 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
9,843 ft


Meters
3,000 m


Miles
1.86 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
1,700 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
518 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft anti-tank guided missile
Graphical image of an aircraft rocket pod
Armament - Hardpoints (6):

OPTIONAL:
2 x 7.62mm machine guns at side doors.
6 x BGM-71 TOW Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) OR 4 x 2.75" rocket pods (in dedicated armed gunship role).
Variants: Series Model Variants
• KUH-1 "Surion" - Base Series Designation; standard transport model.
• KAH ("Korean Attack Helicopter") - Standard attack version.
• KUH-MEDEVAC - MEDEVAC transport platform.
• KUH-AMPHIB - Amphibious Assault platform intended for South Korean Marine forces.