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Ukraine Rules the Skies With New Korean War-Era Helicopter

© Photo : Ukroboronprom's facebookLev-1 helicopter
Lev-1 helicopter - Sputnik International
Ukraine presented a new helicopter, apparently made from written-off 1940s US choppers and Soviet-designed engines no longer in production.

Ukraine's formerly innovative aerospace industry has presented its newest helicopter, the Lev-1, the country's state defense holding Ukroboronprom announced on Monday.

The helicopter is based on the original Bell-47 helicopter, which was made in the United States between 1947 and 1974. The helicopter, which was used in the 1950-1953 Korean War, where it was called the H-13 Sioux, was also the first helicopter ever to be used to film television news in 1958.

"State enterprise Ukroboronservice, which is part of state company Ukrobornprom, successfully demonstrated its newest light helicopter, the Lev-1," Ukroboronprom wrote on Facebook.

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Ukroboronprom did not specify whether the helicopters were newly made or put together from spare parts, although it said that they used the Bell-47 as their base platform and that it it is powered by the GTD-350, a helicopter engine also no longer in production, but formerly produced in Poland and Saint Petersburg.

The company did not specify plans for the mass production of the vehicles or indicate how many would be made. It also wrote that the helicopter is to be used for transport, but could also be armed with what it called light armaments.

Державне підприємство «Укроборонсервіс», що входить до складу ДК "Укроборонпром" на аеродромі «Чайка» успішно представил…

Posted by Державний концерн "Укроборонпром" on Monday, 5 October 2015

Ukraine's netizens were not very impressed with the new craft, created by a country whose aerospace industry once created the world's biggest plane. One user noted that the helicopter is also featured on the cover of the Swedish pop group ABBA's 1976 album, "Arrival".

Before introducing the 1947 helicopter, Ukraine also presented an "attack helicopter" based on the Soviet-designed Mi-2 light transport helicopter, which was introduced in 1965.

"It must be understood that the next novelty will be an 'airliner' from the Wright brothers," another user whose profile says he lives in Kiev commented.

Another user condemned the Ukrainian government-controlled company for using the eastern Ukrainian word "vertolit" to describe the craft, over the alternative western Ukrainian "helikopter," blaming the country's Soviet heritage for the regional difference.

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In terms of Soviet legacy, Ukraine inherited the aircraft manufacturer Antonov and the space rocket and satellite manufacturer YuzhMash, as well as numerous manufacturers of parts and equipment such as the helicopter engine manufacturer Motor Sich. Many Ukrainian aerospace companies now survive through the manufacturing of non-specialized equipment such as household heating furnaces and basic medical equipment.

Ukraine is not the first country to create derivative military equipment from spare and salvaged parts from other countries. Saddam Hussein's Iraq did the same with the Asad Babil (Lion of Babylon) tank, a T-72 variant said to be put together from Soviet and Polish tank parts.

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