EADS North America is urging the US Army to buy a new armed reconnaissance helicopter to replace its aging fleet of Bell OH-58 Kiowa Warriors. The service is expected to make a decision by year end as to whether it will buy a new helicopter or soldier on with what it has.

Sean O'Keefe, EADS North America chief executive officer, says the US Army is looking for a new helicopter that it can acquire for less than the cost of continuing to sustain and upgrade the Kiowa. EADS believes its aircraft, a derivative the UH-72 Lakota called the AAS-72X, meets that criteria.

"This answers the mail in terms of what the Army's looking for," O'Keefe says.



To make its case, the company recently participated in voluntary flight demonstration of two prototypes in Alamosa, Colorado from 24 September to 3 October. One aircraft was straight modification of the UH-72 while the other was a Eurocopter EC-145 T2 that was acting as a stand-in for a more powerful AAS-72X+ model.

The aircraft met all of the army's handling and performance requirements, says David Haines, EADS North America's vice president for helicopters.

O'Keefe also took a shot at Sikorsky's S-97 Raider proposal, which is based on the company's high-speed X-2 compound rotorcraft prototype, but will not fly until 2014.

"There is little utility or need to look at a new concept development effort," he says.

Sikorsky is the only company proposing a clean-sheet design for the proposed Armed Aerial Scout tender.

Source: Flight International