Korean Air to partner with Boeing on unmanned helicopter development
Korean Air and Boeing have signed a MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) for the joint development of 500MD unmanned helicopters. Present at the ceremony held on Sept. 21st in Korean Air’s HQ were Mr. Yang Ho Cho, Chairman & CEO of Korean Air and Mr. Dennis Muilenburg, CEO of Boeing, among many others.
According to the MOA, Boeing will provide technical support for flight control and other data, and for test evaluations. Korean Air and Boeing will also carry out an overseas joint marketing program.
Korean Air successfully remodeled the ROK Air Force’s retired 500MD helicopters to unmanned helicopters from 2014 to May 2016. Based on this success, Korean Air has launched a new project that will run until 2017 to remodel 500MD helicopters into unmanned armed helicopters.
The new 500MD armed unmanned helicopter will not only be able to perform day and night reconnaissance and surveillance missions but will also be able to conduct a short-distance precision strike, a feature which will maximize the helicopter’s usage at the front line when an immediate response is required.
“With this agreement, Korean Air will be able to create unmanned helicopter business opportunities not only in Korea but also in the international market,” said Mr. Myung Rae Ham, Senior Vice President of Aerospace division, Korean Air. “Korean Air and Boeing will fully cooperate in the domestic and foreign unmanned helicopter business and seek to achieve a win-win strategy.”
Korean Air, is one of the world’s top 20 airlines and carried more than 24 million passengers in 2015. Korean Air operates over 460 flights per day to 131 cities in 46 countries on six continents with a fleet of 173 aircraft including ten A380s.
With its modern aircraft and over 20,000 professional employees, Korean Air offers customers convenience and comfort. Korean Air’s award-winning offerings of Korean and international meals and state-of-the-art inflight entertainment system provide passengers with a memorable inflight experience.
The airline is a founding member of the Sky Team airline alliance, which together with its 20 members, offers its 612 million annual passengers a worldwide system of more than 16,320 daily flights covering 1,052 destinations in 177 countries.
Korean Air introduced the double-decker A380 aircraft to its fleet in 2011 and made the interior more spacious than any other airline, with just 407 seats spread across three classes, with the top deck dedicated to ‘Prestige’ business class. The design also features the world’s first onboard ‘Duty Free Showcase’ and three bar lounges.