The Korea Forest Service has formally opened a new service and maintenance centre for Ka-32 helicopters manufactured by Russian Helicopters, a subsidiary of Oboronprom, part of State Corporation Rostec. Representatives of Russian Helicopters took part in the opening ceremony for the centre, which will promote the use of Ka-32 helicopters in the Republic of Korea and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region and reduce waiting times for maintenance and repair of these helicopters.
“The opening of the new service centre will first of all have a positive effect on prospects for promoting Russian-built Kamov-brand helicopters in East Asia,” said Russian Helicopters CEOAlexander Mikheev. “This is a key region for our industry, and we want to be able to offer helicopter operators high-quality maintenance services through the whole life-cycle of our helicopters.”
The multi-role Ka-32 has been supplied to South Korea since 1993. The Korea Forest Service uses the helicopter for monitoring forests and for fire-fighting, the country’s Air Force flies it for search-and-rescue missions, while the Coast Guard deploys helicopters in patrolling its coastal waters. The Ka-32 is also used in the commercial sector for carrying cargo, construction work and other missions. In total 61 Ka-32 helicopters are operational in South Korea, and have racked up more than 100,000 flight hours between them.
The Ka-32 service and maintenance centre is located in a new multi-purpose complex that also houses the headquarters of the Korea Forest Service. The centre can service all types of Ka-32 helicopters in use in the region. Previously these functions were outsourced to Korean company LGI, one of Russian Helicopters’ key partners in the region. The LGI service centre will continue to operate.
The Korea Forest Service is currently considering expanding its fleet of Ka-32 helicopters by purchasing the latest model in the series, the Ka-32A11BC – a unique coaxial helicopter that currently operates in more than 30 countries around the world including in EU states, Republic of Korea, China, Japan, Canada and Russia. The Ka-32A11BC can be deployed for special search-and-rescue and high-rise construction operations, as well as highly complex fire-fighting missions, cargo transportation inside the cabin or on an external sling, in logging operations, to evacuate sick and wounded people, and for routine patrolling and monitoring.