DH - Defence Helicopter

Goodrich to Equip US Army UH-60 Helicopters with Vehicle Health Management Systems

8th October 2008 - 00:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Goodrich Corporation has received a contract from the U.S. Army to provide up to 1,000 Vehicle Health Management Systems (VHMS) for UH-60A/L Black Hawk helicopters. The five-year Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract is potentially valued at up to $300 million and covers deliveries through 2013. The VHMS will be produced by Goodrich's Sensors and Integrated Systems operations in Vergennes, Vt.

The VHMS monitors the entire helicopter mechanical drive train from the engines to the rotor system, flight manual exceedances, and hundreds of aircraft system signals. The system also includes a cockpit voice flight data recorder and crash survivable memory unit. Advanced information provided by VHMS alerts operators to take preventative maintenance steps that avoid collateral damage and more costly future repairs. Goodrich VHMS systems have been battlefield proven on the UH-60 and CH-47D during Army deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Kip Freeman, Business Director, Goodrich Sensors and Integrated Systems, said, "Strong endorsement from soldiers in the field led to equipping the legacy Black Hawk fleet with the VHMS system. After initial flight testing showed promising capability to improve the safety and effectiveness of our troops, Senator Leahy led the effort in Congress to fund a program to install our system on helicopters being deployed to war zones. Goodrich is extremely proud to participate in a program that helps the men and women of our Armed Forces around the world."

In commenting on the many benefits of the equipment, COL L. Neil Thurgood, Utility Helicopters Project Manager, U.S. Army, said, "The Goodrich VHMS system has proven to be a great benefit by increasing readiness and safety while reducing the maintenance burden on soldiers. We have more than 100,000 combat flight hours on the system and have received an immediate benefit of reducing NMCM or Non-Mission Capability Maintenance rates by 10 percent. This equates to having an additional five aircraft available for missions in each Combat Aviation Brigade. Recent Army studies show the system also reduces costs and soldier burden by reducing maintenance test flights by 30 percent, mission aborts by 29 percent and unscheduled maintenance by 16 percent."

Upon receiving Congressional notification of the contract award, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), a senior member of the U.S. Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and co-chair of the Senate's National Guard Caucus, offered his congratulations to the employees of Goodrich. "Our nation's field commanders demand this system because this advanced technology makes military helicopters safer and less expensive to operate," he said. "Whether on a MEDEVAC or an infantry support mission, military helicopters are simply more effective and capable with health management tools. It is a demonstrated fact that a helicopter battalion equipped with the system can operate in harsh environments like war zones for a year and not have the kind of mechanical problems that make an aircraft miss a mission. This life-saving technology is a great testament to the Goodrich team in Vergennes, Vermont. It is the type of system that our soldiers deserve for their tremendous service and sacrifice."

Goodrich HUMS are in use on U.S. Army UH-60A/L/M and CH-47D helicopters, U.S. Navy and Marine Corps MH-60R/S, AH-1Z, UH-1Y, and CH-53E platforms, and the commercial Sikorsky S-92 and S-76D helicopters.

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