Airbus US Space & Defense won a $119.8 million contract modification for an extension of contractor logistics support services for the UH-72 Lakota. The UH-72A Lakota is a light utility helicopter. UH-72A Lakota helicopters were acquired to replace the UH-1H Iroquois and OH-58 A/C Kiowa helicopters. Work will take place in Grand Prairie, Texas. Estimated completion date is June 30, 2022.
The US Marine Corps (USMC) has flown the first AH-1Z flight that has Link-16 capability. Bell says a two-way connection was completed from the helicopter to a ground station. Bell added that the Link-16 package from Northrop Grumman adds a new digital moving map, a new security architecture and Advanced Networking Wideband Waveform (ANW2) datalinks to the helicopter.
Middle East & Africa
Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighters operated by the Air Forces of Italy, UK and Israel are set to take part in this year’s edition of Falcon Strike 21 (FS21) exercises. Falcon Strike 21 a joint, multinational exercise involving service members from the US, Israel, Italy and the United Kingdom to integrate 4th and 5th generation fighter capabilities in a large force employment event.
Welding for the fabrication of prototypes and subsequent series production of the Boxer Mechanized Infantry Vehicle (MIV) programme, under which British Army is procuring over 500 Boxer vehicles started. Under the aegis of Artec GmbH, a joint venture of Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), Rheinmetall will fabricate first prototypes at its plant in Kassel, Germany which will also make the the first series vehicles. The prototypes will have content supplied by the United Kingdom, such as the remotely controlled weapon stations, generic vehicle architecture components, the local situational awareness system or the vehicle emergency lighting system.
Yomiuri Shimbun reports that Japan will budget for the research and development of its loyal wingman in next year’s fiscal budget. The report added that the unmanned air aircraft will be carried aboard the next-generation fighter dubbed F-X. The concept is not new in Japan. The former Fuji Heavy Industries develop the Fuji TACOM unmanned aerial vehicle from 1995 to 2011. The drone was carried on board the F-4E and F-15J. The US Air Force has also integrated the UTAP-22 Mako on the F-15C.
The Indian Navy has started to train its personnel to fly and maintain the MH-60R naval helicopter in the United States. The detachment have started their training at NAS Pensacola. Hindustan Times reports that two MH-60Rs will delivered to the Indian Navy next month and the third helicopter will be delivered by end of the year.
Watch: Viper AH-1Z attack helicopter air missile capability
DID’s FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record. This is DID’s FOCUS Article regarding the US Army’s Light Utility Helicopter program, covering the program and its objectives, the winning bid team and industrial arrangements, and contracts.
The US Army’s LUH program will finish as a 325 helicopter acquisition program that will be worth about $2.3 billion when all is said and done. It aimed to replace existing UH-1 Hueys and OH-58 Kiowa utility variants in non-combat roles, freeing up larger and more expensive UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters for front-line duty. In June 2006, a variant of Eurocopter’s EC145 beat AgustaWestland’s AB139, Bell-Textron’s 412EP Twin Huey, and MD Helicopters’ 902 Explorer NOTAR (No Tail Rotor) design. The win marked EADS’ 1st serious military win in the American market, and their “UH-145” became the “UH-72A Lakota” at an official December 2006 naming ceremony.
Eurocopter has continued to field new mission kits and deliver helicopters from its Mississippi production line, while trying to build on their LUH breakthrough. A training helicopter win will keep the line going for a couple more years…
Latest updates[?]: The US Marine Corps (USMC) has flown the first AH-1Z flight that has Link-16 capability. Bell says a two-way connection was completed from the helicopter to a ground station. Bell added that the Link-16 package from Northrop Grumman adds a new digital moving map, a new security architecture and Advanced Networking Wideband Waveform (ANW2) datalinks to the helicopter.
UH-1Y and AH-1Z
by Neville Dawson
The US Marines’ helicopter force is aging at all levels, from banana-shaped CH-46 Sea Knight transports that are far older than their pilots, to the 1980s-era UH-1N Hueys and AH-1W Cobra attack helicopters that make up the Corps’ helicopter assault force. While the tilt-rotor V-22 Osprey program has staggered along for almost 2 decades under accidents, technical delays, and cost issues, replacement of the USMC’s backbone helicopter assets has languished. Given the high-demand scenarios inherent in the current war, other efforts are clearly required.
Enter the H-1 program, the USMC’s plan to remanufacture older helicopters into new and improved UH-1Y utility and AH-1Z attack helicopters. The new versions would discard the signature 2-bladed rotors for modern 4-bladed improvements, redo the aircraft’s electronics, and add improved engines and weapons to offer a new level of performance. It seemed simple, but hasn’t quite worked out that way. The H-1 program has encountered its share of delays and issues, but the program survived its review, and continued on into production and deployment.
DID’s FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record. This article covers the H-1 helicopter programs’ rationales and changes, the upgrades involved in each model, program developments and annual budgets, the full timeline of contracts and key program developments, and related research sources.