Army orders 84 advanced helicopters over the last month worth a total of $1.1 billion
THE MIL & AERO BLOG, 24 Feb. 2015. The past month has seen the U.S. military on a buying spree for advanced helicopters designed for a wide range of tasks from reconnaissance to attack. Since late January U.S. Army aviation authorities have announced orders for 84 helicopters worth about $1.1 billion.
The three separate orders are for 35 AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters for the U.S. Army; eight AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters for the government of Indonesia; and 41 UH-72A Lakota light helicopters for the U.S. Army.
It's rare to see such substantial helicopter orders coming out of the Pentagon in such a short time period. The Boeing Co. Defense, Space & Security segment in Mesa, Ariz., makes the AH-64E, while Airbus Helicopters Inc. in Herndon Va., makes the UH-72A.
These orders are good news not only for Boeing and Airbus, but also for the many subcontractors that contribute to these military rotorcraft.
On the AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter, for example, General Electric makes the engines; Lockheed Martin makes the targeting system; Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin make the radar; Intevac Photonics makes image intensifier cameras; and Elbit Systems of America makes the helicopter's mission processor as well as its integrated helmet and display sight system (IHADSS).
On the UH-72 Lakota light helicopter, Raytheon is providing the helicopter's radios, CAE is building the cockpit simulators; Sagem Avionics provides the automatic flight control systems; Thales North America is building the avionics suite with glass cockpit; Turbomeca USA assembles the UH-72A's Arriel 1E2 engines; and Wulfsberg Electronics provides the UH-72A’s navigation and communications systems.
The AH-64 Apache is a multirole combat helicopter with integrated avionics, weapons, and digital communications. 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 say. The AH-64E Apache is being delivered to the U.S. Army and has been selected by several international defense forces.
Formerly known as AH-64D Block III, the AH-64E Guardian has improved digital connectivity, the joint tactical radio system (JTRS), more powerful T700-GE-701D engines with upgraded transmission to accommodate more power, capability to control unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), new composite rotor blades, instrument flight rules (IFR) capability, and improved landing gear.
The UH-72 Lakota is a twin-engine helicopter with a four-bladed main rotor, and is a militarized version of the EC145 rotorcraft that is replacing aging UH-1H/V and OH-58A/C helicopters in the Army and Army National Guard fleets.
The Lakota seats two pilots and six passengers. Two stretchers can be installed for MEDEVAC missions with a crew of four: pilot, co-pilot and two medics. The Raytheon AN/ARC-231 Skyfire is the Lakota's multimode airborne communications system.
The Army increasingly relies on combat helicopters like the Apache and the Lakota, and is expected to do so well into the future.