19-Apr-2010 Source: EADS North America
EADS North America and its industry team of American Eurocopter and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) will independently fund and develop three AAS-72X helicopters to demonstrate the performance, capabilities and maturity of this rotary-wing aircraft for the U.S. Armyâ€™s Armed Aerial Scout mission.
The first AAS-72X Technical Demonstration Aircraft (TDA) will be operational in late 2010, and will be used for mission equipment and weapon system integration, performance testing and survivability validations.
â€œThis commitment is a significant investment and continues our entrepreneurial approach to meeting our customersâ€™ demanding needs. These aircraft will ensure the AAS-72X provides a fully capable, compliant Armed Aerial Scout solution for Americaâ€™s warfighters at the earliest possible date,â€ said EADS North America CEO Sean Oâ€™Keefe. â€œIt is part of a low-risk approach that combines mature, developed technologies with the proven UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter â€“ which is in widespread service with the U.S. Army.â€
The AAS-72X flight test and demonstration program is backed by significant investment from the EADS North America-led industrial team â€“ which includes Eurocopter, American Eurocopter and Lockheed Martin. In addition to the three demonstration helicopters, Lockheed Martin has established a high-fidelity systems integration lab for the AAS-72Xâ€™s mission equipment package at its Orlando, Florida, facility.
As a highly capable helicopter for the Armed Aerial Scout mission, the AAS-72X combines twin-engine safety, high and hot operating performance and a large cabin for true multi-role capability. The AAS-72X is derived from the UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter, offering a low-risk evolution of the U.S. Armyâ€™s newest rotary-wing aircraft, which is widely considered one of the most successful acquisition programs in the serviceâ€™s history.
Production of the AAS-72X would take place at the Columbus, Mississippi, helicopter center of excellence operated by EADS North Americaâ€™s subsidiary American Eurocopter, where the UH-72A is manufactured for the U.S. Army. EADS North America has delivered more than 100 UH-72As on time and within budget.
The UH-72A in-service fleet is demonstrating its mission capabilities and reliability with U.S. Army and National Guard, having logged more than 25,000 flight hours at an operational readiness rate of greater than 90 percent.
The UH-72A Lakota is being configured for additional missions in addition to its role in medical evacuation, passenger transport and general aviation duties. Additional missions include homeland security/homeland defense applications with National Guard Security & Support Battalions, combat pilot training support at the U.S. Armyâ€™s Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) in Germany, logistics and transport duties at the U.S. Armyâ€™s missile test range on the Pacific Oceanâ€™s Kwajalein Atoll, and the training of U.S. and allied test pilots at the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Maryland.
For additional information about EADS North Americaâ€™s AAS-72X, visit the website at: www.AAS-72X.com.
About EADS North America
EADS North America is the North American operation of EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defense and related services. As a leader in all sectors of defense and homeland security, EADS North America and its parent company, EADS, contribute over $11 billion to the U.S. economy annually and support more than 200,000 American jobs through its network of suppliers and services. Operating in 17 states, EADS North America offers a broad array of advanced solutions to its customers in the commercial, homeland security, aerospace and defense markets.