Friday, April 12, 2024

Iraq shows interest in South Korean KUH-1 helicopter

Iraq has demonstrated interest in acquiring the South Korean KUH-1 helicopter.

Some Korean media reported that a high-ranking Iraqi Army official, Lieutenant General Samir Zaki Hussein Al-Maliki, commander of Iraq’s Army Aviation Command, recently embarked on a four-day visit to South Korea. During his visit, he visited the headquarters of Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) in Sacheon, to check the company’s KUH-1 helicopter, named the Surion.

The Surion, modeled after the SA330 Puma and developed in collaboration with Airbus Helicopters, has been serving the Republic of Korea (RoK) armed forces since its introduction in 2012. Designed as a versatile platform, the Surion aims to replace aging helicopters in the RoK Army’s inventory, offering capabilities ranging from utility transport to air ambulance services.


With a maximum airspeed of 270 kilometers per hour and a capacity to carry up to 13 individuals, including two pilots, the Surion boasts advanced features suited for various operational requirements. Lieutenant General Al-Maliki witnessed firsthand the operations of a midsize variant of the Surion intended for Coast Guard missions, underscoring its adaptability across different domains.

The Iraqi official’s visit to South Korea coincides with Iraq’s exploration of potential acquisitions to modernize its military assets. While Iraq previously secured a deal with KAI for the procurement of 24 FA-50 light attack aircraft in 2013, discussions regarding the Surion helicopter mark a new avenue for collaboration between the two nations.

During his stay, Lieutenant General Al-Maliki also engaged in discussions with South Korean Defense Minister Shin Won-sik.

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About author:

Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov is the editor-in-chief of Defence Blog. He is a journalist, an accredited defense advisor, and a consultant. His background as a defense advisor and consultant adds a unique perspective to his journalistic endeavors, ensuring that his reporting is well-informed and authoritative. read more