2004 - project

Current configuration of KAL KMH utility version

Aerospace Division of Korean Air Lines established 1976 to manufacture and develop aircraft; occupies 64.75ha site at Kimhae, including floor area of 250,000m2; 2001 workforce about 2,150. Has overhauled RoKAF aircraft since 1978; programmed depot maintenance of US military aircraft in Pacific area began 1979, including structural repair of F-4, systems modifications for F-16, MSIP upgrading of F-15 and overhaul of C-130. Began assembly in 1981 of first domestically manufactured fighter (Northrop F-5E/F), completing deliveries to RoKAF 1986. Since 1988, KAL has delivered wing components for Boeing 747/777, New-Generation 737 and MD-11 and fuselage components for MD-80/90 and Airbus A330/A340. Deliveries of nose sections for Boeing 717 started 28 March 1997, but suspended in 2001. KAL manufactured UH-60P helicopters between 1991 and 1999, under licence from Sikorsky.

Korean institute of Aeronautical Technology (KIAT). established as division of KAL in 1978, has grown to become a major Korean aerospace industry R&D centre, it is to add a Helicopter Development Research Centre (HDRC) as a result of October 2001 agreement with Sikorsky to collaborate on KAL's submission in KMH (Korea Multirole Helicopter) programme. Korean MoD's Agency for Defence Development (ADD) selected in 2002 to manage this programme. Official go-ahead announced September 2003 as 15 trillion won (US$ 13 billion) programme, despite continuing concerns over its economic viability; about 2 trillion won (US$1.7 billion) of this to be spent on R&D. Further concerns over cost voiced by government in November 2003, and re-evaluation of programme ordered. Aim is to complete development of utility version by 2010 and attack version (if still viable) by 2012. Draft programme plan was to have been completed by end of 2003 and selection of foreign partner by mid-2004, but programme status remained uncertain in early 2004.


TYPE: Multirole medium helicopter (requirement).

PROGRAMME: Initiated as entrant in Korea Helicopter (KMH) competition for armed scout and attack roles, but M now indicating Multirole for appeal also to civil operators; early design assistance by Sikorsky, mockup displayed and first details released at Seoul Air Show in October 1996. Korean Army requirements subsequently underwent gradual change, leading to presentation to government by KAL of new conceptual design at 2001 Seoul Air Show. Basic concept now is to develop two versions (utility and attack) with common major subsystems such as engines, rotor system and drive train. KAL signed MoU with Sikorsky Aircraft on 16 October 2001, under which the two companies will participate in technical and strategic discussions to cooperate in product development, and in marketing initiatives for multimission helicopters to meet Korean Army requirements. KMH programme received official go-ahead September 2003, but being re-evaluated by government two months later. Results of this still awaited in early February 2004.


  • Utility: Primary mission troop transport; secondary missions include command and control; search and rescue: and medevac,
  • Attack: Primary mission anti-tank and scout; secondary missions include ground support, air combat and escort.

CUSTOMERS: KAL foresees a domestic market for up to 400 military and 150 civil KMH.

DESIGN FEATURES: Five-blade, bearingless flexbeam main rotor and eight-blade "fan-in-fin" tail rotor; two-stage transmission. Rotor brake designed to stop and hold rotor, power off, in 74km/h winds. T tailplane.

FLYING CONTROLS: Full-authority, hydromechanical automatic flight control system, incorporating an electronic stability augmentation system; fly-by-wire back-up system (removable for civil valiants) is incorporated in primary AFCS to improve overall ballistic lollerance.

STRUCTURE: All-composites rotor blades. Fuselage is composites and metal mix, with built-in crashworthiness. Front of fuselage employs 'anti-ploughing' structure to prevent nose from digging into soft ground in event of hard landing or crash. Crushable floor structure to attenuate energy and reduce vertical crash g loadings on occupants.

LANDING GEAR: Non-retractable tailwheel type, capable of absorbing 3.05m/s descent rate at design MTOW.

POWER PLANT: TWO LHTEC T800 series turboshafts (each 1,014kW for T-O and 1,204kW max contingency). Transmission rating 1.342kW. Self-sealing, crashworthy fuel tanks with explosion suppression and with non-return valves to minimise leakage in a crash.

ACCOMMODATION: Two-man flight deck in utility version, with pilot and co-pilot side by side in armour-protected seats; two crew members at gunner positions adjacent to cabin windows; up to 10 fully equipped troops or four stretchers plus two attendants in main cabin. Pilot and co-pilot/gunner in tandem in attack version. Crew and passenger seats all crashworthy.

AVIONICS: Comms (both versions): VHF AM/FM, UHF AM, HF, Mode 4 IFF, intercom and voice security standard; satcom optional.
Flight (both versions): AFCS with digital three-axis autopilot, GPS/INS, VOR/ILS and radar altimeter standard; Doppler navigation and ADF Tacan optional.
Mission: Pilotage FUR in both versions, plus PLS (utility version) or TADS and helmet-mounted display (attack version).
Self-defence: RWR, IRCM and chaff/flare dispenser standard in both versions; LWR and MWR standard for attack version, optional for utility.

ARMAMENT (utility version): External pylon can be fitted on each side of cabin for variety of stores, including 12.7mm in self-contained gun pods; or two rocket pods; or ASMs. Two pintle mounts adjacent to cabin windows each side, each for a 12.7mm gun or 7.62mm six-barrel Minigun.

ARMAMENT (attack version): Electrically operated, three-barrel 20mm undernose turret gun with up to 750 rounds; either crew member can fire this gun, which can be slaved to a helmet-mounted sight or other aiming device. Four underwing hardpoints for up to 12 Hellfire or Hellfire 2 anti-tank missiles; or 52 x 70mm FFAR; or 16 AAMs and their launchers; or a combination of these weapons.

Jane's All the World's Aircraft, 2004-2005

Current configuration of KAL KMH utility version

Technical data for KAL KMH (utility)

Main rotor diameter: 11.89m, tail rotor diameter: 1.37m, length overall: 14.45m, height overall: 3.86m, max. take-off weight: 5,896kg, empty weight: 3,243kg, max cruising speed: 278km/h, hovering ceiling OGE: 3,355m, max range: 814km

Attack version of KAL KMH

Kim Jae Hyon, e-mail, 25.05.2009reply

I was at the Yongsan War Museum in Seoul and found that the KMH program is gone. It was replaced with the KHP program which too has died, and now survived by the KAI /EADS Korean Utility Helicopter (KUH). The KUH does not have a Fenestron tail, and it looks like the fusion of the cabin of an EC 155 stuck to the engines (twin round intakes) and the tail boom /rear rotor of a Super Puma.

kilamus, e-mail, 10.05.2008reply

may i get a full cateloque of the helicopter with specifications and kits attached to it

Jae Hyon Kim, e-mail, 09.04.2008reply

The attack version looks like the abandoned RAH 66. I know KAI is collaborating with EADS for the KHP, but would it not be nice if Boeing-Sikorsky continued the KMH program collaboration and gave us all of the RAH technology for the KMH attack version?

"STINGRAY", e-mail, 12.01.2007reply


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