Flight testing validates aircraft's high/hot hover, endurance and controllability with 2,300-pound payload
(Arlington, Virginia and Alamosa, Colorado, July 29, 2009) -- EADS North America today announced it has completed a series of successful "high/hot" flight demonstrations of its UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) platform. These flights proved that the UH-72A platform, currently being delivered by EADS North America to the U.S. Army, is able to meet the service's demanding high altitude/high temperature mission profiles - for both current and future armed aerial scout operations - even in the world's most challenging combat environments.
Operating from Alamosa, Colo. with a takeoff elevation of more than 7,500 feet and carrying a simulated 2,300-pound Mission Equipment Package (MEP), the Lakota platform (to be known as the Armed Scout 645 once missionized) successfully hovered-out-of-ground-effect (HOGE) at a density altitude of 6,000 feet and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. This requirement was included in the Army's Sources Sought document issued in October 2008 and reflects the evolving armed aerial scout mission environments faced by U.S. forces operating in theaters such as Afghanistan. The demonstration flight not only validated the aircraft's high/hot hover capability but also confirmed tail rotor authority and controllability with the simulated MEP payload in hover-out-of-ground-effect conditions.
A subsequent flight with the simulated MEP payload validated the aircraft's long-range endurance capability - completing a 2 hour, 30 minute flight with a 35-minute fuel reserve.
"This series of successful flights with a Lakota platform clearly demonstrates our team's ability to meet the Army's demanding high and hot operational requirements with a full combat mission package. We did so with a platform that provides broad commonality to the successful UH-72A Light Utility Helicopter flying in the Army inventory today," said David R. Oliver, EADS North America's chief operating officer. "We are confident in the capabilities of both our product and team - and remain committed to meeting the Army's urgent requirement to address this critical combat aviation mission."
On May 5, 2009, EADS North America unveiled the Armed Scout 645 offering for the Army's armed aerial scout requirement and announced the selection of Lockheed Martin to provide the Mission Equipment Package. The Armed Scout 645 will be built at American Eurocopter's Columbus, Miss. facility where the Army's UH-72A Lakota is currently produced.
The Army has ordered 128 Lakotas and plans to acquire a total of 345 UH-72As through 2016. In addition, five Light Utility Helicopters have been ordered by the U.S. Navy for pilot training at the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Md.
To date EADS North America has delivered 72 UH-72A Lakotas, all on or ahead of schedule. The UH-72A and Armed Scout 645 aircraft platforms are based on Eurocopter's proven EC145 multi-role helicopter.
The UH-72A Lakota fleet maintains an operational availability rate higher than 90 percent; underscoring the readiness of these rotary-wing aircraft to perform their varied assignments.
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