First flight of Armed Aerial Scout 72X Technical Demonstration Aircraft
EADS North America today announced that it has flown the second of three company-funded Armed Aerial Scout 72X Technical Demonstration Aircraft (TDA).
The flight took place yesterday at the companyâ€™s American Eurocopter facility in Grand Prairie, Texas and lasted 40 minutes. The objective of this flight was to demonstrate integrated targeting sensor, manned/unmanned teaming (MUM-T) and communications and navigation capabilities. Subsequent test flights will demonstrate additional capabilities required to meet the U.S. Armyâ€™s current Armed Aerial Scout mission requirements.
The EADS North America-led industry team, comprised of Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), Eurocopter and American Eurocopter, is developing three AAS-72X aircraft to demonstrate the total capability of the aircraft with a fully-integrated Mission Equipment Package (MEP).
â€œThis is a significant milestone for our industry team as we further demonstrate the capabilities of our aircraft and its ability to meet the Armyâ€™s warfighting requirement,â€ said Sean Oâ€™Keefe, CEO of EADS North America. â€œWeâ€™re pleased with our progress to date and remain fully committed to developing and demonstrating a solution for the Armed Aerial Scout mission.â€
The first TDA aircraft has been in use to demonstrate anticipated AAS-72X requirements for the Armyâ€™s Armed Aerial Scout mission. This includes a July 2009 series of successful high/hot test flights that achieved all test objectives including hover-out-of-ground-effect and flight endurance with a 2,300-pound simulated MEP, and a transportability demonstration of five helicopters on a C-17 transport aircraft.
Since that time other advancements on the program include the development of the MEP Systems Integration Laboratory at Lockheed Martinâ€™s Orlando, Fla. facility.
â€œLockheed Martinâ€™s considerable progress in maturing the state-of-the-art AAS MEP demonstrates our commitment to providing a best-value, superior solution to meet the warfightersâ€™ armed scout need,â€ said Bob Gunning, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control vice president of Fire Control programs. â€œWe are leveraging our expertise from other combat-proven rotary- and fixed-wing programs to develop the lowest risk MEP. This first flight marks a significant achievement on our path towards flying a production prototype.â€
As a highly capable helicopter for the Armed Aerial Scout mission, the AAS-72X combines twin-engine safety and the high and hot operating performance critical to the Armyâ€™s armed scout mission. The AAS-72X is derived from the same family of aircraft as the UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter, offering a low-risk evolution of the U.S. Armyâ€™s newest rotary-wing aircraft, which is widely considered one of the most successful acquisition programs in the serviceâ€™s history.
â€œTodayâ€™s event proves our commitment to this project in terms of our financial investment and emphasizes our enhanced engineering capability to serve our U.S. Army customer. This is yet another example of delivering on our promise,â€ said Marc Paganini, President and CEO American Eurocopter.
Production of the AAS-72X would take place at the Columbus, Miss. helicopter center of excellence operated by American Eurocopter, an EADS North America operating unit, where the UH-72A currently is assembled for the U.S. Army. EADS North America has delivered 146 UH-72As on time and within budget, including five to the U.S. Navy.
Source and photo: EADS