Procurement: South Korea And Second Hand Apaches


May 30,2008: South Korea is buying 36 recently retired U.S. AH-64D Apache helicopter gunships. With refurbishment, each would cost $27 million. That's about half what brand new, similarly equipped Apaches would cost. South Korea will be replacing elderly AH-1 gunships. The AH-64Ds would be delivered over the next four years.

South Korea wanted to develop its own helicopter gunship design, but that would have been much more costly, and depended on export sales to break even. The locally designed gunships would end up costing the South Korea Army about three times what they are paying for the American refurbed choppers. Since aircraft are constantly rebuilt over their service lives, there's no difference in performance between new AH-64Ds, and the refurbs. The one difference would be higher maintenance cost for the refurbs down the line, because some of the components already had some wear on them when they entered South Korean service.

Many South Korean politicians and industry leaders want to go ahead with developing the Korea Attack Helicopter (KAH) anyway, and get the AH-64Ds mainly to upgrade the helicopter gunship capability. The first KAH would not be ready for service for another ten years.


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