Seoul gives its airmobile capabilities a more offensive posture
Towards a fleet of 100 Apache
The South Korean Army (ROKA) is reportedly looking to procure 36 new AH-64E "Apache" helicopters. They would complement the 36 AH-64Es ordered in 2013 for $1.3 billion. If the order goes through, the AH-64Es would replace many of the AH-1S "Cobras" still in service. The South Korean army's goal is to have just over 100 AH-64Es in service by 2028.
The "Guardian" E standard
Introduced in 2012 as the AH-64D Block III, it was renamed AH-64E "Guardian". The latest evolution of the family, it was modernized with new engines, advanced digitization and the carriage of APKWS guided rockets and AIM-92 "Stinger" anti-aircraft missiles. Equipped with the AN/APG-78 Longbow radar, the Guardian enhances its gunship capabilities, from infantry support to coastal patrol boats.
The acquisition of new combat helicopters (AH-64E, H155 LAH) was born out of Korea's desire to further professionalize its armed forces and take over command of wartime operations on its borders, a responsibility that until recently had been assumed by the United States. This paradigm shift is forcing South Korea to readjust its military posture. Some of these new Apache aircraft could be integrated into a new helicopter combat regiment, dedicated to reconnaissance and deep strike missions. On March 3, the Korean group KAI and the Israeli company IAI signed an MoU to equip the next LAH light armed helicopter (a new development between KAI and Airbus Helicopters of the H155) with MUM-T technology to enable it to operate in coordination with a winged drone.
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