16-Jan-2023 Source: HeliHub.com
The Korean military has started the process of replacing their three Sikorsky S92s which are operated in support of the President. The three have exceeded their planned replacement cycle of 10 years, in part due to the pandemic enforcing different priorities on Government time.
The Korean Air Force has submitted documentation to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, detailing the necessity and planned timescale of replacement aircraft.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff then approved the requirement and have passed responsibility on to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration team. Initial research has now begun into whether there is scope for a locally-produced aircraft, although the lack of a similar sized helicopter to an S92 would make that much less likely.
Consideration is also being given for a performance improvement project – perhaps the S92A+ which Sikorsky has been touting around in the market for nearly four years, albeit without any published sales achievements. Other potential options would be the Airbus H175 or the Leonardo AW189.