Republic of Korea Marine Corps reportedly chose MUH-1 Marineon’s armed variant for its Marine Attack Helicopter (MAH) program over the Bell AH-1Z Viper and Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian.
ROKMC intends to procure 24 attack helicopters for its recently-reestablished Marine Aircraft Wing through the MAH project, which is expected to cost ₩800 billion ~ 1 trillion | $660 million ~ 825 million.
Attack helicopters acquired through this project would escort MUH-1 Marineon utility helicopters during amphibious operations. ROKC ordered a total of 28 MUH-1 Marineon helicopters. MUH-1’s delivery had been delayed for about a year due to a fatal crash caused by a faulty part delivered by Airbus Helicopters.
According to the early report which broke this news, those involved in the project deemed it was “more cost efficient” to develop armed variant than to acquire brand new attack helicopters.
This is disappointing since a dedicated attack helicopter is much more survivable, manoeuvrable, and generally more efficient than an armed helicopter. Even the project name specifies for a Marine “Attack Helicopter” (상륙공격헬기) over an armed one.
If early report regarding ROKMC’s choice is accurate, I hope they at least consider modifying the front fuselage and cockpit area to make way for the tandem-seat cockpit.
Such concept was devised for the Korean Attack Helicopter (KAH) program, which was cancelled in favour of AH-64E Apache Guardian.