US Army LUH Competition: 4 Bids, New Partnerships
DID has covered the US Army’s $2+ billion, 320 helicopter Light Utility Helicopter competition in numerous posts, from the original expected matchup between Bell Helicopter Textron 210 and MDHI-Lockheed’s MD-900 Explorer NOTAR, to the entry of the EADS Eurocopter EC145, and then the AgustaWestland and L-3 bid using the AB139.
The bids were recently submitted, but there have been a few changes along the way:
- Bell Helicopter Textron entered its Bell 412EP “twin-Huey,” rather than the Bell 210 that earlier press releases had led observers to expect. Bell is largely relying on its own extensive network for support services, but other suppliers on Bell’s LUH team include Honeywell, Chelton/Wulfberg Electronics, Goodrich, Intellegent Automation Corporation, East/West Industries, Inc., Simula, and FreeFlight.
- EADS North America made a splash by signing up Sikorsky as its contractor logistics support partner for the US 145 bid, plus Westwind Technologies for special purpose helicopter systems integration and modification, and CAE USA to provide simulators.
- AusustaWestland remains teamed up with L-3 Communications, which has a slew of contracts to refurbish and service US military aircraft. As noted above, they will be offering the AB 139. This team once included Bell Helicopter Textron as well, but Bell has now sold its stake in the AB139 to AugustaWestland, which now owns the platform outright.
- Lockheed and MDHI found that a combined bid would not meet the Army’s price targets, and the partnership was dissolved.
- MDHI was prepared to go it alone, but fortunately for their chances they managed to partner up with a specialized team that included international security and maintenance specialists Dyncorp for management and field service maintenance personnel, GENCO GIS for supply-chain management solutions, and Aviation Systems of Northwest Florida for training devices. Two modified and upgraded “UH-902” helicopters will be delivered for the fly-offs, which are scheduled to begin in late November 2005.
Update: Competition winner – Eurocopter’s EC145 becomes the UH-72A Lakota.