AAS-72X+ Armed Aerial Scout voluntary flight demos begin
EADS North America announced on 26 September that it has begun its voluntary flight demonstration (VFD) for the US Army’s Armed Aerial Scout helicopter programme. The series of demonstrations will see two aircraft flown at a high-altitude test site to showcase the capabilities of the company’s AAS-72X+ offering.
The AAS-72X+ is an armed derivative of the army’s UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopter. The aircraft will be manufactured by the company’s American Eurocopter business unit, with Lockheed Martin providing the mission computer and integrating the mission equipment.
According to EADS North America, the AAS-72X+ is ‘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 said the aircraft would be built in the same facility as the army’s UH-72A Lakota, 240 of which have been delivered by EADS North America – all on time and on cost.
EADS North America has already developed, tested and flown three AAS-72X Technical Demonstrator Aircraft (TDA) using the company’s own research and development investment. Over the next two weeks, company pilots will be flying the VFD with one AAS-72X, as well as an EC145 T2 helicopter that demonstrates the performance enhancements offered in the AAS-72X+ configuration.
The EC145 T2 shares the same basic airframe as the UH-72A and AAS-72X, but incorporates the 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.
The company believes these elements of the AAS-72X+ ‘will offer the 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 — the most demanding environment for rotary-wing operations’.
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