Eurocopter ended 2005 with a major military contract win in South Korea–traditionally a U.S.-dominated market. The Korean government chose the EADS subsidiary as the primary partner of Korea Aerospace Industries in the Korea Helicopter Project (KHP)–a new $6 billion to $8 billion program for the development of the country’s first indigenous military transport helicopter in the 7.5- to 8.5-metric ton class (16,534 to 18,739 pounds). The French-German manufacturer’s all-new aircraft clinched the deal against Italy’s AgustaWestland and Bell Helicopter of the U.S., which both planned updates of existing Korean helicopters.
The KHP development phase, in which Eurocopter has a 30-percent stake, runs from 2006 until 2011 and the production phase, in which it has a 20-percent share, until 2020. A total of 245 helicopters are to be manufactured. The partners will establish a 50-50 subsidiary to market an export version of the helicopter.