Sample Issue|Helicopter News

February 5, 2008

Table of Contents

Army $140.7 Billion FY ’09 Budget Request Continues Growth, Focuses On Soldiers, Balance

The Army’s $140.7 billion request in the FY ’09 president’s budget request is $12.3 billion, or 9.6 percent higher than the $128.9 billion FY ’08 projected for enacted funds and is intended to balance immediate warfighting needs with developing systems soldiers need for the future.

The budget was delivered to Congress Feb. 5.

The Army requests $51.8 billion, or 38 percent of the service budget, for military personnel. Another 29 percent, $40.2 billion, is requested for operation and maintenance. The procurement request of $24.6 billion makes up 17 percent of the budget, and 7 percent of the budget is the request for $10.5 billion for research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E).

Army Aviation requests $5 billion that would allow it to replace the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior with the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) and retire the aging UH-1 Iroquois, better known as the Huey, and OH-58 Kiowas with the commercial off the shelf UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter (LUH). The Army would also continue replacing aging C-12, C-23 and C-26 fixed-wing aircraft with the C-27J Joint Cargo Aircraft.

The service requests:

$439 million to procure 28 ARHs. Bell Helicopter Textron [TXT] builds the ARH.

$224 million to procure 36 LUHs. The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. (EADS) builds the LUH.

$1.2 billion for 16 new and 23 remanufactured F-model CH-47 Cargo helicopters.

$637 billion for AH-64 Apache upgrades/conversions, including 32 Longbow Block II models, target acquisition designation sight/pilot night vision sensors and other safety and reliability modifications.

$1.1 billion UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.

$491 million for aircraft survivability equipment.

Army Aviation Optimizing National Resources For National Capability, General Says

Army aviation is leveraging all available resources to produce a capable, qualified force that goes beyond combat capability to homeland security, homeland defense and into supporting foreign policy, according to a top general.

"Army aviation has a longer reach, it has a greater grasp in terms of representing not only our military capability but also allowing us to have that foreign presence, allowing us to have an extended reach over delivering our foreign policy for our country," Maj. Gen. Virgil Packett, commander, Army Aviation Warfighting Center and Fort Rucker, said in a teleconference Jan. 31.

Since 9/11, Army aviation has flown more than 2.2 million hours in combat, while setting the standard in terms of quality.

"Our real charge here with regard to an Aviation Center of Excellence is to make sure that we optimize all of our national resources, quite frankly, into delivering the most capable, most qualified and right now the most experienced Army aviation the country’s ever seen," he said.

Army Aviation and the Aviation Center of Excellence consists of eight physical locations, enabled by joining and engaging with the National Guard, Packett said.

"What we have is an opportunity that reaches across the Untied States and as we look at our requirements and as our requirements continue to expand we have engaged and embraced this collectively as we look down the road to the future," Packett said.

The locations include the Eastern Army National Guard (ARNG) Training Site (EAATS) in Pennsylvania, the Western ARNG Aviation Training Site (WAATS) in Arizona, a fixed-wing area of expertise in West Virginia, a High Altitude Aviation Training Site (HAATS) in Colorado, and an Unmanned Arial Systems Training Battalion (UASTB) at Ft. Huachuca, Ariz. Also, there is a foreign training capability in Ft. Bliss, Texas, and a maintenance expertise and training asset in Virginia. At Ft. Rucker itself, training is conducted for air traffic controllers and all the aircraft systems and initial entry rotary wing training. Ft. Rucker is also home to NCO academies and some other specialities.

Col. Tim Hilty commands the EAATS, located at Ft. Indiantown Gap, Pa. The site offers 36 formal courses for those who fly, support, maintain and repair aircraft. Last year, the site trained more than 1,900 soldiers from 54 states and territories from the active component and reserve, and the site also does simulation training for international allies.

"The East operates the largest Reserve simulation complex in the United States, where we have full motion simulators in the CH-47, we have two UH-60 simulators, we have a AH- 64A combat mission simulators while we still have UH-1 cockpit trainers and starting in April we will receive the first LUH (Light Utility Helicopter) cockpit procedural trainer" and a second will follow in the next couple of years, Hilty said.

Later this year, East will create the first institutional LUH training course. The first two aircraft will arrive in the June-July time period, and the first course will be an instructor pilot transition course.

Col. Matthew Brown commands WAATS at Silverbell Army Heliport in Marana, Ariz., which is also known as "Gunfighter University." With 29 courses, WAATS conducts all the AH-64A and OH-58 A-C model qualification courses, maintenance test pilot and instructor pilot training. The site also trains enlisted personnel in flight operations, maintenance and armament.

Soldiers about to deploy or getting ready to deploy go to WAATS to prepare for war. "That’s what we’re all about here," Brown said.

Through cooperative agreements, other nations, such as Singapore, which has AH-64 Longbow Apache helicopters, utilize WAATS.

WAATS has some 3,600 square miles of training area similar in terrain to Iraq and parts of Afghanistan–a desert, high and hot environment.

Most of those at WAATS are full-time members of the Arizona National Guard.

There’s plenty of work in sight for the future, he said. For example, WAATS wants to do more with Apache Longbow, because National Guard units now using the Apache Alpha model are likely to move to the Longbow model in the future.

Another initiative could be to expand UAS work. The site is close to Ft. Huachuca, so partnering with the UAS training group there could facilitate simulation and National Guard and Reserve training. WAATS has gunnery ranges, as well.

Command Sgt. Maj. Danny Thurecht is the battalion sergeant major for the UASTB, at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. "The battalion is unique because what we teach out there primarily is how to operate an unmanned aircraft," he said. There are also functional courses. UAS Courses teach soldiers about the Army’s Shadow, Hunter and Warrior Alpha aircraft.

Next year UASTB likely will start training on the third generation UAS, the Extended Range MultiPurpose (ERMP) aircraft.

"We teach approximately 1,192 students a year out there, which is probably going to double in the future," he said. "Next year I believe we have 1,900 coming through the course."

Maj. Joshua Day commands HAATS located in Gypsum, Colo."We do one thing and I think we do it well. We teach aviators from the active component, the reserve component and some of our Euro-NATO partners to master the environment, their airframe, and themselves and we do it at an altitude that a lot of these pilots have never seen before," he said.

HAATS does it by training at 6,500 feet at the airfield and flying up to 12,200 feet. Throughout the course, HAAT instructors will take aviators even higher–more than 14,000 feet during some enroute portions of flight.

HAATS trains using UH-60, CH-47, AH-64 UH-1 and OH-58A-C aircraft.

In the future, HAATS wants to train with LUH once the helicopter is fielded in larger numbers.

Packet said it is national resources such as these sites that train some 21,000 soldiers annually.

The kind of reputation that Army aviation has created today means we’re never going to have enough resources.

"The good news is that we’re all in this together," Packett said, referring to the active, National Guard and reserve components. This week, Ft. Rucker is hosting the 2008 Army Aviation Senior Leaders Conference, with service leaders from around the world in attendance.

SOCOM Signs Contract With BAE For CV-22 Gun

BAE Systems will develop an interim all-quadrant defensive weapon system for the Air Force’s CV-22 Osprey aircraft, the company reported.

The $491,000 contract awarded earlier this month by the U.S. Special Operations Command calls for rapid development, installation, testing, and qualification of a weapon capability that provides defensive fire protection to all quadrants of the aircraft. The contract has a potential value of $16.3 million, according to BAE.

The belly-mounted system is remotely operated and capable of delivering accurate, sustained fire throughout the CV-22’s flight envelope.

The weapon system is based on the company’s Remote Guardian System, an internally-funded effort to develop a common airborne defensive capability. BAE has been investing in the RGS for more than two years and unveiled the system in October 2007 at the Modern Day Marine military exposition in Quantico, Va.

RGS is designed to be belly mounted on the Bell Helicopter Textron [TXT]- Boeing [BA] V-22. RGS is a turreted weapon system that consists of a turreted sensor and turreted Gatling gun (Defense Daily, Oct. 5).

RGS will use the Marine Corps’ GAU 17, 7.62 mm mini-gun and the Air Force Special Operations Command’s (AFSOC) GAU 2.

BAE is also looking at a 50 caliber design and more advanced sensors for RGS (Defense Daily, Oct. 5).

General Dynamics To Supply Spain With Helicopter Missiles

General Dynamics [GD] European Land Systems recently said its General Dynamics Santa Barbara Sistemas operations in Spain has signed a $64 million contract with the Spanish army for the supply of Air Land (ER) Spike Missile Systems for the HAD Tiger helicopters.

The contract calls for the manufacture of 200 missiles and 44 launchers for the HAD Tiger helicopters. The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co.’s (EADS) Eurocopter produces Tiger helicopters.

In addition, General Dynamics Santa Barbara Sistemas will provide integrated logistics support. The work is expected to be completed by 2012.

General Dynamics Santa Barbara Sistemas, the prime contractor, has an agreement with the Israeli company RAFAEL for the manufacture of the systems. In 2006, the two companies signed a contract for the supply of Spike Missiles to Spanish army ground forces. The initial contract was valued at $424.5 million.

General Dynamics European Land Systems, headquartered in Vienna, Austria is a business unit of General Dynamics Corp. and conducts business through four European operating sites.

Boeing To Provide Egypt With Apache Longbow Crew Trainer

Boeing [BA] recently said it was awarded a $20 million contract to provide an AH-64D Apache Longbow Crew Trainer (LCT) and life-cycle support to the Egyptian air force.

"We are committed to guaranteeing the readiness and safety of our customers," Tony Jones, Boeing vice president, Training Systems and Services, said. "The LCT is extremely successful in preparing our U.S. Apache Longbow crews, and we are excited to see that our international customers have recognized the value and capabilities of this proven device."

The LCT, a full-mission, high fidelity flight simulator, provides training for Apache Longbow helicopter crews. Boeing is scheduled to deliver the LCT in July 2009.

Designed to reduce recurring maintenance costs, the improved LCT incorporates the latest architecture technologies and replaces aircraft components with simpler, PC-friendly software.

The contract also includes two years of spares, operator and maintainer training, one year of contractor-logistics support and an option for an additional year of contractor- logistics support to be exercised at a later date.