The U.S. Army is not expected to issue final requirements for its planned Armed Aerial Scout (AAS) helicopter until after evaluation flights scheduled for the second quarter. Essentially, these flights are intended to allow the competing manufacturers to show what they have, what it will cost, and to help the Army decide what it can get for what it can afford.
The U.S. Army is not expected to issue the final requirements for its proposed Armed Aerial Scout (AAS) helicopter until after test flights scheduled for the second quarter of 2012, but the competing manufacturers have come up with what they feel will be the basic requirements, generally based on the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter program canceled in 2008.
When it comes to replacing its long-serving OH-58D Kiowa Warrior armed scout helicopter, the U.S. Army faces one of the widest ranges of options of any recent Pentagon acquisition program.
Choices range from further upgrades of Bell's venerable OH-58 to Sikorsky's S-97 Raider, a development of its high-speed, coaxial rotor X2. Somewhere between lies EADS North America's AAS-72X, a derivative of the Army's UH-72A Lakota light-utility helicopter.
There’s a variation on an old adage that says if at first you don’t succeed, get a bigger hammer. That pretty much explains Bell Helicopter’s Model 429. Its light-twin predecessor, the 427, had quickly demonstrated the 427’s lack of appeal to the broad market. Its small cabin and lack of IFR capability kept customers away in droves. Bell tried to correct the instrument deficiency with the 427i, but the cramped cabin remained.
With its modern glass cockpit, twin-engine safety and performance, and reduced noise and vibration, the Eurocopter UH-72A Lakota provides a chance for U.S. Army National Guard units to at last catch up with the advances made in light utility helicopters.
Bell Helicopter has waited a long time for a success to follow its best-selling single-turbine Model 407. The 427 light twin did not have instrument flight rules (IFR) certification, which kept customers away in droves. The follow-on 427i was IFR-certified, but the cabin was not big enough to attract operators, particularly the emergency medical service industry.
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