Army goes on $1.5 billion helicopter shopping spree in March

U.S. Army aviation experts went on a military helicopter-buying spree in March, culminating with a $184.9 million order for an undisclosed number of AH-64E Guardian attack helicopters from the Boeing Co.

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REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - U.S. Army aviation experts went on a military helicopter-buying spree in March, culminating with a $184.9 million order for an undisclosed number of AH-64E Guardian attack helicopters from the Boeing Co.

Officials of the Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., are asking the Boeing Defense, Space & Security segment in Mesa, Ariz., for Apache helicopter full-rate production lot 7. One Apache helicopter production lot consists of about 24 helicopters.

Army helicopter shopping started on 8 March with a $387.2 million order to Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, in Stratford, Conn., to build 35 UH-60M Black Hawk military utility helicopters.

A U.S. Army helicopter-buying spree last month culminated in a $184.9 million order for an undisclosed number of AH-64E Guardian attack helicopters from the Boeing Co.

Rotorcraft buying continued again on 15 March when the Army ordered 12 new and 27 rebuilt Boeing CH-47F Chinook twin-rotor multimission, heavy-lift transport helicopters in an $896.9 million contract as part of Chinook production lot 14.

The AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter contract brought the Army helicopter buying total for March to about $1.5 billion in a span of just two weeks.

The twin-engine UH-60M Black Hawk can serve in the most extreme conditions on Earth, Sikorsky officials say. The newest model of the Black Hawk helicopter integrates the Army's Future Combat Systems and automated aircraft health monitoring. Lockheed Martin Corp. completed its acquisition of Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. last fall.

The UH-60M is designed to replace the older UH-60A Black Hawk and is the centerpiece of the Army's long-term effort to modernize the service's medium-lift helicopter fleet. Sikorsky Aircraft has manufactured the Army Black Hawk since 1978.

The CH-47F is an advanced multimission helicopter for the U.S. Army and international defense forces. It contains an integrated, digital cockpit management system, common aviation architecture cockpit, and advanced cargo-handling capabilities.

The Chinook's primary mission is to move troops, artillery, ammunition, fuel, water, barrier materials, supplies, and equipment on the battlefield. Its secondary missions include medical evacuation, disaster relief, search and rescue, aircraft recovery, firefighting, parachute drops, heavy construction, and civil development. Under the U.S. Army Modernization Program, new-build CH-47F began deliveries in 2006. Under the same program, CH-47Ds are being upgraded to remanufactured CH-47F helicopters.

The AH-64 Apache is a multirole combat helicopter with integrated avionics and weapons, as well as advanced digital communications to enable real-time, secure transfer of battlefield information to air and ground forces.

The E-model Apache Guardian features enhanced performance, joint digital operability, improved survivability and cognitive decision aiding, and reduced operating and support costs, Boeing officials describe.

The AH-64E Apache is being delivered to the U.S. Army and has been selected by several international defense forces.

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