Initiated as part of Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) Force Improvement Plan, with objective of replacing 500MD, UH-1H and ÀH-1S with advanced type usable in combat, light attack, command and control, liaison and passenger-carrying roles. Confirmed by Korean government as KMH (Korea Multirole Helicopter) acquisition programme in September 2001; Agency for Defence Development (ADD) confirmed as programme manager in 2002. Official go-ahead for KMH programme confirmed September 2003, but government ordered a re-evaluation of programme two months later, and budget constraints could result in down-sizing of requirement. Utility version to be developed first; subsequently planned attack variant, embodying maximum commonality, appeared in danger of cancellation by end of 2003. Earlier, KAI had approached AgustaWestland, Bell, Boeing, Eurocopter and Sikorsky as potential partners in KMH programme.

A model shown at Singapore in February 2002 is now known not to have been representative of eventual KAI design, details of which company had not released by August 2003.

Jane's All the World's Aircraft, 2004-2005