EADS begins flight demonstration of AAS-72X
EADS North America has begun its voluntary flight demonstration (VFD) for the Army’s Armed Aerial Scout helicopter program, flying two aircraft at a high-altitude test site.
Over the next two weeks, company pilots will be flying the VFD with one AAS-72X, as well as an Eurocopter EC145 T2 that demonstrates the performance enhancements offered in the AAS-72X+ configuration.
The AAS-72X+ will be cost-competitive with the upgrades planned for the Vietnam-era OH-58 Kiowa Warrior, and could be fielded with Army units as early as 2016, the company claims. The aircraft would be built in the same facility as the Army’s UH-72A Lakota, 240 of which have been delivered.
“A competition will ensure the Army gets the combat capability it badly needs at an affordable cost, with the program performance that is a must in today’s acquisition environment,” said Sean O’Keefe, EADS North America Chairman and CEO.
The EC145 T2 shares the same basic airframe as the UH-72A and AAS-72X, but incorporates the more powerful Turbomeca Arriel 2E engines with dual channel FADEC, a Fenestron anti-torque system, an upgraded transmission, the Helionix glass cockpit and avionics suite, and a 4-axis autopilot system.
These elements of the AAS-72X+ will offer the US Army greater power, range, endurance and payload capacity when operating in 6,000 foot altitude and 95 degree environments, commonly known as “6K/95 high/hot” conditions, EADS NA claims.