Above: The KAI LAH prototype, 001, during its 20-minute maiden flight at Sacheon on July 4. KAI
KOREA AEROSPACE Industries (KAI) has successfully completed the first flight of the initial Light Armed Helicopter (LAH) prototype, 001. The sortie, with two flight test pilots on board, lasted about 20 minutes and was conducted from KAI’s headquarters and main production facility in Sacheon. The LAH had been rolled out on April 8 and begun ground trials, following which a readiness review in June determined that it was ready for its maiden flight.
The LAH features a 20mm Gatling gun under the nose and stub wings for carriage of rocket pods. The type is based on the Airbus Helicopters H155 (formerly known as the EC155B1) and is being developed for the Republic of Korea Army (ROKA) to replace its current AH-1F Cobra and MD500E/MD500MD Scout helicopter fleets. The ROKA plans to buy 214 LAHs, with service entry anticipated around 2022-3.