Attack — The United States likely won’t fulfill Turkey’s request for AH-1 Cobras because it can’t spare the attack helicopters, according to press reports in Turkey. That nation asked for 12 of the Bell Helicopter aircraft in late December to support its fight against insurgents. Turkey last year ordered AgustaWestland A129 Mangustas, but they won’t start entering service until 2013.
Unmanned — The U.S. Army and Air Force are finalizing a proposal to accelerate delivery of General Atomics MQ-1 Sky Warrior fixed-wing unmanned aerial systems to help stand up new, quick-reaction units for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and target acquisition missions to support combat operations. New units are to be deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Utility — Boeing’s new CH-47F has made its first overseas deployment. A detachment of four aircraft from the U.S. Army’s first unit equipped with the latest Chinook variant, Bravo Co. (Varsity), 7th Battalion in the 101st Aviation Regiment of the 101st Airborne Div. (Air Assault)’s 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, deployed to Liberia in February to support the visit there by President Bush.
Utility — Total acquisition costs for the U.S. Army’s UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopter grew $208.4 million, or 11 percent, to $2.1 billion. The Pentagon attributed that mostly to a beefed-up purchasing plan that adds 23 of the Eurocopter EC145-based aircraft, putting the total expected buy at 345. There was also a cost increase for modifications to address issues identified during initial operational testing, including ARC-231 secure radios and cabin ventilation kits for all 345, engine inlet filters that Eurocopter is developing for 66 aircraft, and medical evacuation kits for 84 aircraft.
Utility — Sikorsky Aircraft says it has started to establish its supply chain for its S-70i International Black Hawk program, with which the company aims to offer a multi-mission, 10-ton utility helicopter at less than the price of the latest Black Hawk, the U.S. Army’s UH-60M. Several potential partner companies in several countries are under consideration, with manufacturing licenses expected this year. Sikorsky also is developing plans for final assembly and hangar operations at the company’s PZL Mielec facility in Poland. Deliveries are expected to start in 2011.
Utility — Korea Aerospace Industries and Eurocopter held a meeting at Eurocopter headquarters in Marignane, France in late March to launch joint efforts to market the 9-ton, 11-passenger Korea Utility Helicopter, which is to be built in part in South Korea starting in 2012. South Korea launched the program in 2005 to replace its fleets of Bell Helicopter UH-1Hs and MD Helicopters MD-500s.