Army raising service commitment for future aviators to 10 years

Soldiers who want to fly Army helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft will be required to serve at least a decade, the same active-duty service commitment expected of Air Force fighter pilots and four more years than the current policy.

The 10-year service obligation kicks in after graduation from flight training and does not apply to personnel currently in training, Army officials said this week.

The policy takes effect in October and also applies to part-time Army Reserve and National Guard personnel, Chief Warrant Officer 5 William S. Kearns, aviation and officer policy integrator for the Army’s personnel office, said in a statement.


Army Helo Market Pegged at $10 Billion

Market opportunities for the Army’s helicopter fleet will average about $10 billion per year over the next decade as the service modernizes its rotary-wing assets, according to analysts.

The current inventory includes UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters, AH-46 Apache attack helicopters, CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters and UH-72 Lakota light utility helicopters. All but the Lakota are still in production today.


The next few months are ‘critical’ for the Army’s new helicopter engine

WASHINGTON — The Army’s Improved Turbine Engine Program is facing a “critical” stretch which will determine whether testing on the engine will occur on time or be delayed, thanks to challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, a pair of Army officials said Wednesday.

Patrick Mason, the program executive officer for Army aviation, and Brig. Gen. Walter Rugen, the director for future vertical lift inside Army Futures Command, said that the service has finished its component critical design review (CDR) process, and has moved on to its full program CDR, a key milestone before moving into testing.

However, “given COVID and all of the factors that have gone on with COVID,” the plan to have the full CDR done during second quarter has been pushed to third quarter, Mason said at an event hosted by the Heritage Foundation.


Military Conducts Live-Fire Coordination, Interoperability Training on Hawaii island

Interoperability training among the nation’s armed forces is occurring in Hawaii on an unprecedented scale — and China is the reason, defense experts say.

In the most recent example, two Air Force B-52 bombers, more than 1,500 Schofield Barracks soldiers, at least 30 Army helicopters and Arkansas-based C-130 cargo carriers deployed to Pohakuloa Training Area on Hawaii island for a 10-day “fire support coordination exercise.”

“Being able to practice close-air support with B-52 bombers dropping over 15, 000 pounds of high explosives while running alongside our Army brethren in a company movement with (helicopter ) attack aviation to the left and active artillery to the right, provided numerous lessons, ” Capt. Austin Hairfield, with the 25th Air Support Operations Squadron, said in an Air Force news release.


U.S. Army?s researchers work to improve future helicopter performance

Researchers at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center Aviation Development Directorate?Ames in rotors technical area stationed in Virginia are working to improve the capability of the future of Army aviation.

Army scientists have reached a promising milestone in the field of rotors research for improved capabilities of helicopters in the near future.

According to a recent CCDC Aviation & Missile Center news release, one of the projects the rotors technical area is working is in-flight rotor track and balance. Previously, blades on a helicopter had trim tabs that needed to be adjusted by hand to minimize vibration. Once adjusted, the aircraft would go through multiple track and balance flights to validate the adjustment. Centolanza said automating the process saves time and money. ?As we go to FVL, as we go faster, (active rotor track and balance) becomes more and more important. That really (aims towards) sustainment and improved performance, by reducing vibration,? he said.


Airbus delivers 200th UH-72A to Army Aviation Center of Excellence

Airbus Helicopters has delivered the 200th UH-72A Lakota for training operations with the Army Aviation Center of Excellence in Fort Rucker, Alabama. The aircraft represents the company?s 440th Lakota delivery since the program began in 2006, sustaining one of the Department of Defense?s only on-time, on-cost and on-quality Acquisition Category 1 (ACAT 1) programs over the last decade.

Airbus?s partnership with the Army has allowed for the training of nearly 1,500 military student pilots while also providing the U.S. National Guard with a versatile rotary-wing capability suitable for counter-narcotic, border security and disaster response missions.


The Pirouetting S-97 Raider Makes Your Helicopter Look Lazy

EVEN AT SEVEN in the morning, the south Florida heat and humidity is stifling. It steams up eyeglasses and feels like an iron on your skin. An alligator lurks in a stagnant pond near the runway?perhaps a spy sent by Bell, Sikorsky?s chief competitor for the contract to build the Defense Depart?ment?s next generation of vertical-lift aircraft.

But any resentment about Sikorsky?s decision to test its radical new S-97 Raider prototype at its facility in West Palm Beach vanishes as the helicopter?s 2,600-horsepower turbine engine spools and the dual, counterrotating rotors above the fuselage start spinning, out-blowing any ocean breeze.


What’s The Deal With Army Helicopters Flying A Secret New Mission Over The Capital?

The U.S. Army has been quietly conducting a new classified operation involving at least 10 UH-60 Black Hawks in and around Washington, D.C., for months. This mission came to light after the service asked Congress to shift $1.55 million in funds from one part of its budget to another in order to support the operations and maintenance of the helicopters.

Bloomberg was first to report on this “emerging classified flight mission” after obtaining an Army reprogramming request. The $1.55 million for this operation is part of a broader request to funnel approximately $2.5 billion in total from various parts of the service’s budget to other areas that it feels are of greater importance. By law, all the branches of the U.S. military have to ask permission to reallocate funds that Congress has already approved for other purposes.


?Cascading? Old Technology a Problem for Guard, Reserve Units

Equipping National Guard and Reserve units with hand-me-down helicopters, which the U.S. Army calls “cascading,” can lead to such units receiving new technology or significant upgrades, including those for rotorcraft, nearly a decade after active duty units.

“Helicopters are always among the issues at the forefront of the National Guard Association of the United States agenda,” John Goheen, a spokesman for the association wrote in an email. “The Army Guard has approximately 200 old A-model UH-60 Black Hawks. In addition, the Army Guard?s four Apache units are authorized only 18 aircraft when they need 24 to deploy. In addition, they are D-model AH-64s when the active component flies mostly E-models. “


Pilots, ground troops combine to test Apache helicopter modernization upgrades

FORT HOOD, Texas — During the largest Aviation test of 2019, Apache and Unmanned Aerial System pilots joined combat ground forces to test an upgraded Apache helicopter version. The complex operational test of the AH64E Version 6 Apache helicopter upgraded improved target acquisition and joint interoperability, while taking a look at its increased lethality and survivability on the modern battlefield.

“The operational test collected data on the ability of an AH-64E Version 6-equipped unit to conduct attack, reconnaissance, and security missions in land and maritime environments,” said Mr. Larry Hood, a Supervisor Military Test Plans Analyst with the U.S. Army Operational Test Command’s Aviation Test Directorate.