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 for a series of demonstrations that will showcase the superior performance of the company’s AAS-72X+ offering.
The AAS-72X+, an armed derivative of the Army’s UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter, will be manufactured by the company’s American Eurocopter business unit in Columbus, Miss. Lockheed Martin provides the mission computer and integrates the mission equipment.
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 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.
EADS North America has previously 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 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 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.
EADS North America unveiled its Armed Aerial Scout 72X+ (AAS-72X+) April 2, 2012 at the annual Army Aviation Association of America convention