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(LEAD) S. Korea to buy more attack choppers from abroad by 2028

Defense 19:32 March 31, 2021

(ATTN: ADDS more details on arms procurement projects in last 4 paras, photo)

SEOUL, March 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korea decided Wednesday to buy dozens more advanced attack helicopters from abroad by 2028, the arms procurement agency said.

The defense project promotion committee, presided over by Defense Minister Suh Wook, approved a plan to import around 36 large combat choppers with a budget of 3.17 trillion won (US$2.81 billion), according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).

South Korea secured and deployed 36 Boeing AH-64E Apache helicopters under the first round of the project between 2012 and 2021.

"We will begin procedures to select the exact type of this asset and a company to purchase attack choppers. The budget has increased due to inflation and the necessary addition of some equipment and facilities," a DAPA official said.

"This second batch project is to enhance our ground forces' operations of offensive maneuvers," he added.

An AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter of the South Korean Army fires a rocket during a joint drill with the U.S. military at a training field in Pocheon, Gyeonggi Province, on April 26, 2017. (Yonhap)

During the meeting, the government also decided to develop a minesweeping helicopter with domestic technologies.

A total of 850 billion won will be poured into the project which is to be launched next year to continue through 2030, and the envisioned model is expected to be based on the country's Marineon, the Marine variant of KUH-1 Surion helicopter, according to officials.

It also decided to continue the ongoing project of building next-generation Aegis-equipped destroyers, called Gwanggaeto the Great Ⅲ, after the first ship began to be constructed last month.

Under the project, South Korea is working to secure a total of three destroyers of the class by 2028 with a budget of 3.9 trillion won.

This photo, provided by Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., shows the King Sejong the Great Aegis destroyer, which the shipbuilder delivered to the navy in 2008. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

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