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.


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.


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.


UPDATED: Sikorsky?s Optionally Piloted Black Hawk Makes First Flight, ?Zero-Pilot? Flights Planned for 2020

For the better part of an hour on May 29, one of the oldest existing UH-60 Black Hawks was flown with a full-authority fly-by-wire flight control system that eventually could allow the aircraft to fly without a pilot on board.

Sikorsky has developed a kit that removes all legacy mechanical flight controls from the aircraft and replaces them with its MATRIX technology to make it an optionally piloted vehicle. The company uses the phrase ?optimally piloted vehicle? almost interchangeably because the system can act as a robotic co-pilot to a human operator or enable remote operation from the ground.


Army aviation taking major steps in 2019 to improve fleet

WASHINGTON ? The U.S. Army aviation?s program office is taking steps in 2019 to improve the fleet, to include moving forward on a major engine replacement effort for UH-60 Black Hawk and AH-64 Apache helicopters as well as providing some of the fleet with improved visibility for degraded visual environments, according to the service?s program executive officer for aviation.

Both of those efforts have been touted as major priorities for Army aviation but have taken longer to bring online than expected.

The service is headed into a period of aggressive modernization to include a plan to buy two new Future Vertical Lift helicopters in the 2030s, but the Army also has to strike a balance to keep its current fleet capable and ready.

Boeing is readying Chinooks for the future fight, but is the effort in jeopardy?

WASHINGTON ? Boeing will put its newest CH-47F Chinook cargo helicopters with major upgrades through flight tests beginning next year as well as demonstrate a new engine and is setting the stage to bring autonomous capability to the heavy-lift aircraft.

While the service hones in on Future Vertical Lift aircraft geared toward replacing UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters and AH-64 attack helicopters as well as fill a gap left open when the Army retired its OH-58 Kiowa Warrior armed scout helicopters by the early to mid 2030s, the Vietnam-era Chinook is expected to keep flying well into the 2050s.

Replacing the heavy lift aircraft is last on the Army?s FVL development and procurement list. That program likely won?t initiate until the 2040s with initial production starting in the 2050s.

Pilots test new digital displays in Black Hawk helicopters to replace decades-old analog controls

The nearly 40-year-old helicopter that is the centerpiece of Army aviation is getting a control panel that rivals a brand-new Lamborghini.

Soldiers with the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, recently conducted tests alongside experimental test pilots from Redstone Test Center, Alabama, of the new digital systems on the UH-60V Black Hawk helicopters.

The system will upgrade the existing navigation suite, install a digital integrated glass cockpit and replace the decades-old analog controls, according to an Army release.

Black Hawk Army helicopters get futuristic new cockpit

For 40 years, the Black Hawk has been flown by the Army and now this legendary helicopter is set to become even more powerful with new futuristic cockpits.

The upgrade will give Army pilots ultra-advanced capabilities in the cockpit combined with the might of this classic military helicopter. The analog cockpits are going digital.

This workhorse of Army aviation is over 40 years old

The UH-60 Black Hawk has been a mainstay of the United States Military since it was first delivered in 1978. This highly versatile helicopter has since served with all five branches of the armed services and has even found a home with other agencies, like U.S. Customs and Border Protection, as well.

The primary purpose of the Black Hawk is to haul troops ? at least 11 of them ? but it’s also very capable of hauling cargo ? it can support 9,000 pounds hanging from a cargo hook. Versions of this helicopter also serve as medevacs, in command and control capacities, and as support to special operations forces. Some even pack a lot of firepower and take to the skies as gunships.