EADS North America introduced a boosted version of its Armed Aerial Scout (AAS) offering for the U.S. Army during Quad-A in Nashville. Dubbed the AAS-72X+, the helicopter is a derivative of the AAS-72X Lakota light utility helicopter (LUH), and is based on the commercial EC145T2. Plans call for 72X+ production to take place at American Eurocopter’s facility in Columbus, Miss., starting as early as 2016, pending the Army’s selection from a number of options.
David Haines, vice president of rotorcraft programs, noted that the EADS North America has delivered 210 Lakotas through early April. “Over the past three-and-a-half years, our company with industry partners have invested millions of our own R&D funds to develop, integrate, test and fly three technical demonstration aircraft,” he said. “This proves out our proposed solution for the Army’s Armed Aerial Scout requirement.”
With a baseline Lakota, EADS has shown “that we can meet the 6K/95, high/hot, hover out of ground effect with the needed endurance and range, coupled with a 2,500-lb payload,” Haines continued. “The Army has a number of AAS choices in this tough fiscal environment. This is our latest evolution of an armed UH-72A Lakota,” he said, while curtains dropped to introduce the AAS-72X+ to a crowd gathered at the EADS booth.
“The most notable external difference is the Fenestron anti-torque [tail rotor] system,” said Gary Bishop, vice president and program manager of the AAS-72X. He added that the 72X+ also features more powerful Turbomeca Arriel 2D engines, an enhanced transmission, a Helionix cockpit and a four-axis autopilot system.