EADS North America to build three Armed Aerial Scout 72X Technology Demonstration Aircraft
5th May 2010
EADS North America has announced that it and its industry team of
American Eurocopter and Lockheed Martin 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. Army’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.
“This commitment is a significant investment and continues our entrepreneurial
approach to meeting our customers’ demanding needs. These aircraft will ensure the
AAS-72X provides a fully capable, compliant Armed Aerial Scout solution for America’s
warfighters at the earliest possible date,” said EADS North America CEO Sean O’Keefe.
“It is part of a low-risk approach that combines mature, developed technologies with the
proven UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter – which is in widespread service with the
The company says that the AAS-72X flight test and demonstration program is backed by significant investment
from the EADS North America-led industrial team – 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-72X’s mission equipment package at its Orlando, Fla., facility.
EADS claims that 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. Army’s newest rotary-wing aircraft,
which is widely considered one of the most successful acquisition programs in the
Production of the AAS-72X would take place at the Columbus, Miss., helicopter center
of excellence operated by EADS North America’s subsidiary American Eurocopter,
where the UH-72A currently is assembled 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. Army’s Joint
Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) in Germany, logistics and transport duties at
the U.S. Army’s missile test range on the Pacific Ocean’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, Md.