MBDA to integrate Mistral ATAM on Korean helos

MBDA has secured a contract from Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) to supply and integrate its Mistral Air-to-Air Missile (ATAM) system on the Korean Marine Attack Helicopter (KMAH), the company announced during the ADEX 2023 exhibition in Seoul on 17 October.

“We are proud to be partnered again with Korea Aerospace Industries to arm a Korean military aircraft,” said MBDA CEO Eric Béranger.

“This contract cements Mistral ATAM’s place as a world’s leading helicopter launched anti-air missile system,” added Béranger.

According to MDBA, the Mistral ATAM is based on the Mistral short-range anti-air missile (SAM) which features a fire-and-forget engagement mode, high kill probability, and ease of operation. The company added that the ATAM system can be launched at altitudes over 15,000 ft and comprises two launchers per helicopter, each carrying two missiles.

KAI was earlier awarded a contract to develop a multirole attack helicopter for the Republic of Korea Marine Corps (RoKMC) based on its MUH-1 Marineon amphibious helicopter design.

KAI said that it had signed a contract with the Ministry of National Defense’s (MND’s) procurement agency Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) in a regulatory filing on 27 October 2022. According to the company, the development contract is worth ₩438.40 billion and is to be completed within 46 months.

“The project involves the development of a homegrown amphibious attack helicopter capable of covering the [RoKMC’s] amphibious manoeuvre helicopters and air assault units, and providing air fire support for ground combat units during deep manoeuvre and between the final operations,” KAI stated.

Intended roles included amphibious assault operations, particularly around in the north-western islands near the inter-Korean border. The helicopter must be compatible for operations alongside Marineon helicopter, which is already in RoKMC service.

MBDA and KAI are also working together to integrate the Meteor beyond visual range missile onto the latter’s KF-21 Boramae multirole fighter aircraft. Man-portable Mistral air defence systems are also used by the Republic of Korea’s Armed Forces.

by Jr Ng