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A Vote of Confidence for ARH?

By James T. McKenna | May 11, 2007

Gen. Richard Cody seemed today to reaffirm a commitment to the Bell Helicopter ARH-70A Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter. The Army’s vice chief of staff, speaking to reporters at the Army Aviation Assn. of America annual gathering in Atlanta, reiterated that the Army needs the ARH to relieve war-weary Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warriors and “Bell has the contract to build it.” While Cody has been constant in his view that the Kiowa Warrior needs to be replaced quickly, it was open to interpretation whether he meant its replacement would the ARH or an ARH. Bell’s program is a year or more behind schedule, and top Army officials next week are to review the manufacturer’s plan to salvage the program, which is under threat of cancellation. Given those problems, both EADS and Boeing are pitching their ability to field an armed reconnaissance helicopter by the Army’s desired first-unit-equipped date of September 2008—EADS with an armed version of the Eurocopter EC145 (the Army’s choice for the Light Utility Helicopter) and Boeing with a version of the special-forces A/MH-6 Little Bird. At Quad A, Boeing is displaying a Little Bird placarded as the Boeing ARH. In his comments at the show, Cody seemed to lean toward referring to the ARH—that is, Bell’s. For related news

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