A medical transport variant of the South Korean KAI KUH-1 Surion, the first-ever indigenous twin-engine light utility helicopter in South Korea, has successfully completed its first official test flight.
The medical transport edition, the latest variant of the KUH-1 Surion, was actually used in airlifting out two South Korean soldiers who were seriously injured in an apparent landmine explosion while on routine patrol duty in the demilitarized zone in August last year.
“The medical transport variant has pulled off its first 20-minute flight,” South Korean aircraft maker Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), the developer of the Surion, said on Jan. 25.
Since the development of the medical transport variant of the Surion kicked off in 2014, the medical chopper’s new medical equipment and operability have been rigorously tested under various conditions including cold weather operations. The development will be completed by the end of this year and the Surion medical helicopter is scheduled to be deployed as the military's medical transport vehicle starting from 2018.
Capable of evacuating up to 6 people simultaneously, the Surion medical chopper is equipped with weather radar and an anti-collision warning system.
To maximize the survival rate of airlifted patients, the Surion medical chopper is outfitted with varied cutting-edge emergency medical equipment and supplies, such as an automatically height-adjusting stretcher pedestal, an oxygen supply device, medical suction units, a patient monitoring system, cardioverter defibrillators and respirators.
Meanwhile, the development of other variants of the Surion, including the KUH-1 Surion amphibious helicopter, the Surion Marine Utility Helicopter (MUH-1) and KUH-1P (a police variant), had been complete in 2012. Since then, various Surion helicopters have been replacing foreign-made helicopters in not only military operations but also other diverse areas, such as firefighting and forestry.
KAI aims to replace some 400 helicopters currently in service in South Korea with new Surion choppers over the next 20 years and export 600 Surion choppers to about 20 overseas markets, such as the Middle East, Latin America and Southeast Asia.