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New research facility speeds changes to Army helicopters

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The U.S. Army is opening a new $6.7 million vehicle drivetrain facility this summer to research lighter, more reliable and more efficient transmissions for future military rotorcraft.

The research inside the Vehicle Innovative Powertrain Experimental Research, or VIPER, facility will focus on technologies to increase power density and transmission efficiency to enable greater speed, range and payload for future rotorcraft.

Upon opening, the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory’s facility will feature a main gearbox from a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The facility’s 2,000 horsepower-class transmission testbed is flexible and can be configured to perform experiments on a wide variety of gearboxes including AH-64 Apache, V22 Osprey, V280 Valor and next-generation rotorcraft transmissions.

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