Military Factory logo

KAI / Boeing KUS-VJ

South Korea (2020)
Picture of KAI / Boeing KUS-VJ Unmanned Attack Helicopter Gunship

The KUS-VJ is a unmanned rotary-wing gunship platform based on the MD500 and being proposed by Korean Air with technical assistance from Boeing.


Detailing the development and operational history of the KAI / Boeing KUS-VJ Unmanned Attack Helicopter Gunship.  Entry last updated on 1/2/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The rise of unmanned attack aircraft over the battlefield is quite apparent to even the casual observer and Korean Air (Korean Aerospace Industries - KAI) of South Korea, along with U.S.-based Boeing, have agreed to jointly develop an unmanned, attack-minded version of the successful MD500 series light helicopter. With a large stock of aging MD500 units available to the South Korean Air Force, the project would see conversions of these systems to an unmanned model - designated "KUS-VH". A full-sized mock-up of the proposed product was seen at Seoul Aerospace & Defence Exhibition 2015.

Without the need of a pilot the helicopter will now see a reduced operational commitment over the battlescape. The passenger cabin is to be taken up by a large internal fuel tank increasing the operational range of the helicopter by 100%. The windscreen surfaces common to the MD500 will be shrouded over. By and large the overall form and function of the unit will remain intact. Optcis will be set in a fairing under the chin. Korean Air also markets the development under a low-cost approach to a comparable manned system of equal capabilities. Armament options will include rocket pods, gun pods and missiles which, when coupled to onboard systems, will provide a surgical strike capability with no potential pilot loss in enemy-held territory.
While the South Korean Air Force is not actively looking for a product like the KUS-VH, the possible reuse of the aging stock of MD500 helicopters might be tempting enough for the service to have a serious look. The MD500s currently in service will be retired over the next decade and number several hundred.

The Boeing participation in the program is key not only due to the company's position as a global defense powerhouse but also with its recent experience in developing its own H-6U "Little Bird" unmanned helicopter (detailed elsewhere on this site). The KUH-VH will be offered for export to American and South Korean allies.






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

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
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the KAI / Boeing KUS-VJ's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
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
1
1


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
National Flag Graphic
Origin: South Korea
Year: 2020
Type: Unmanned Attack Helicopter Gunship
Manufacturer(s): Korean Air - South Korea / Boeing Company - USA
Production: 1
Status: In-Development
Global Operators:
South Korea (possible)
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 / Boeing KUS-VJ model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
0


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
23.00 ft


Meters
7.01 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
26.35 ft


Meters
8.03 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
8.53 ft


Meters
2.6 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
1,323 lb


Kilograms
600 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
2,866 lb


Kilograms
1,300 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
Estimated: 1 x Allison 250-C20B turboshaft engine developing 420 horsepower and driving five 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
435 mi


Kilometers
700 km


Nautical Miles
378 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
13,862 ft


Meters
4,225 m


Miles
2.63 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
1,700 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
518 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an air-to-air missile weapon
Graphical image of a short-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of an aircraft Gatling-style rotating gun
Graphical image of an aircraft anti-tank guided missile
Graphical image of an aircraft rocket pod
Armament - Hardpoints (2):

Variable - ordnance held across two wingstubs along fuselage sides and can include (in pairs of in single installation):

TOW Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs)
7.62mm General Electric M134 miniguns
Stinger short-range air-to-air missiles
Seven-shot rocket pods
Variants: Series Model Variants
• KUS-VJ - Proposed series designation