Source: Airbus Helicopters
The first prototype LAH for the South Korean Army flew on July 4th, marking a significant milestone in the program. The LAH is designed to fulfill the role currently undertaken by the AH-1 Huey Cobra and MD 500 in the South Korean Army. The IOC for the aircraft is planned for 2023 and it will serve alongside the AH-64 Apache in the attack role.
The LAH is based heavily on the Airbus Helicopters H155, itself a development of the Airbus Helicopters Panther. Powered by two Safran Helicopter Engines Arriel 2 turboshafts, the performance of the LAH will be nearly identical to the H155. Production is expected to run into 2050, making the LAH an option on the export market.
The LAH will feature a forward looking infrared sensor and targeting system connected to the nose along with a chain gun. Potential armaments will include the Spike ER, Ray-bolt and AGM-114 Hellfire anti tank missiles.
The LAHs mission will be to specifically hunt North Korean tanks in the event of a conflict. North Korea has a large force of T-55, T-62 and Pompuk Ho Main Battle Tanks. In addition the LAH can also support operations against mobile artillery and rockets.
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