EADS North America this week is conducting flight demonstrations of its company-funded Armed Aerial Scout 72X (AAS-72X) helicopter at the Nashville International Airport to coincide with a nearby military aviation exposition.
The company, and its industry team of American Eurocopter and Lockheed Martin, have made a significant investment in the development of three AAS-72X Technical Demonstrator Aircraft (TDA), which are being used to conduct parallel development and risk reduction activities, and to demonstrate the aircraft’s increasing level of capability and technical maturity. The AAS-72X is based on the highly successful EC145 commercial helicopter platform.
The AAS-72X demonstration aircraft is equipped with a Mission Equipment Package (MEP) that includes a chin-mounted turret with integrated targeting sensor, manned-unmanned teaming capability, communications suite and weapons.
“EADS North America and its Armed Scout team has achieved every milestone we’ve set in developing a highly capable helicopter that will meet the Army’s armed aerial scout mission,” said EADS North America CEO Sean O’Keefe. “Bringing one of our three technical demonstrator aircraft to Nashville enables Army leadership and aviators to see and experience these accomplishments first-hand.”
The Technical Demonstrator Aircraft made its first flight in December 2010, and is being used to validate the AAS-72X’s ability to meet the U.S. Army’s current armed aerial scout mission requirements.
Prior to first flight of the TDA helicopter, the company conducted high/hot hover-out-of-ground-effect, endurance and payload testing in 2009 at Alamosa, Colo., successfully operating at 6,000 feet and 95-degree density altitude. The team also conducted a key transportability test when five militarized EC145 aircraft were successfully loaded in a C-17 transport aircraft. Additionally, EADS North America and Lockheed Martin established a System Integration Laboratory (SIL) and hangar in April 2010 at Lockheed Martin’s Orlando, Fla. facility.
“Having a fully-capable laboratory enables high fidelity integration and testing and results in the lowest-risk MEP solution for the AAS-72X,” said Bob Gunning, vice president of Fire Control at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “We have made significant investments to ensure our state-of-the-art MEP provides a best value, superior solution to meet the warfighters’ armed scout mission requirements.”
A highly capable helicopter for the Armed Aerial Scout mission, the AAS-72X combines twin-engine safety with the high/hot operating performance critical to the Army’s Armed Scout mission. The AAS-72X is derived from the same family of aircraft as the UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter. The result is a low-risk evolution of the U.S. Army’s newest rotary-wing aircraft, which is widely considered one of the most successful acquisition programs in the service’s history.
Production of the AAS-72X will take place at American Eurocopter’s Columbus, Miss. helicopter center of excellence where the UH-72A Lakota is currently assembled for the U.S. Army. EADS North America has delivered more than 160 UH-72A Lakotas to the U.S. Army on time and within budget, along with five H-72A versions to the U.S. Navy for test pilot training.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 126,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s 2010 sales from continuing operations were $45.8 billion.
American Eurocopter is a helicopter manufacturer that produces, markets, sells and supports the broadest range of civil and para-public helicopters offered by any manufacturer in the United States. The company is a subsidiary of EADS North America Holdings, the North American operations of EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defense and related services, and is an affiliate of Eurocopter, the largest helicopter manufacturer in the world.
EADS North America and its parent company, EADS, contribute over $11 billion to the U.S. economy annually and support more than 200,000 American jobs through its network of suppliers and services. Operating in 17 states, EADS North America offers a broad array of advanced solutions to its customers in the commercial, homeland security, aerospace and defense markets.