Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Rotorcraft Report: EADS LUH Platform Meets Key U.S. Army Armed Aerial Scout Profile
A standard, commercial EC145, the platform that serves as the baseline for the UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), has completed a series of successful high/hot flight demonstrations. These tests proved it is able to meet the U.S. Army’s demanding high altitude/high temperature mission profiles for both current and future armed aerial scout, according to EADS.
Operating from Alamosa, Colo. with a takeoff elevation of more than 7,500 feet and carrying a simulated 2,300-lb mission equipment package (MEP), the Lakota platform (to be known as the Armed Scout 645 once missionized) successfully hovered-out-of-ground-effect (HOGE) at a density altitude of 6,000 feet and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. This requirement was included in the Army’s Sources Sought document issued in October 2008 and reflects the evolving armed aerial scout mission environments faced by U.S. forces operating in theaters such as Afghanistan. The demonstration flight not only validated the aircraft’s high/hot hover capability but also confirmed tail rotor authority and controllability with the simulated MEP payload in hover-out-of-ground-effect conditions at a weight of 7,407. These numbers represent a 201-lb increase from the previously certified capability.
A subsequent flight with the simulated MEP payload validated the aircraft’s long-range endurance capability — completing a 2 hour, 30 minute flight with a 35-minute fuel reserve.
"This series of successful flights with a Lakota platform clearly demonstrates our team’s ability to meet the Army’s demanding high and hot operational requirements with a full combat mission package. We did so with a platform that provides broad commonality to the successful UH-72A Light Utility Helicopter flying in the Army inventory today," says David R. Oliver, EADS North America’s CEO.