Well, here you have it, the Armed Aerial Scout 72X+. It’s EADS North America’s bid for the Army’s effort to replace or upgrade its ancient OH-58 Kiowa Warrior armed scout choppers.
Yup, the EADS bird looks like a beefed up version of the Army’s UH-72 Lakota Light Utility Helicopter — the EADS-made chopper that has replaced the service’s venerable UH-1 Hueys in non-combat roles — because that’s pretty much what it is.
Here’s what the company has to say about the Lakota on steroids:
The AAS-72X or AAS-72X+ could be built and delivered at a cost competitive with the upgrades planned for the Vietnam-era OH-58 Kiowa Warrior and fielded to Army units as early as 2016.
This variant is based on the commercial EC-145T2 aircraft which incorporates the more powerful Turbomeca Arriel 2E engines with dual channel FADEC, a Fenestron tail rotor for improved anti-torque, an upgraded transmission, the Helionix glass cockpit and avionics suite, and a 4-axis autopilot system.
These elements of the AAS-72X+ will offer the Army greater power, range, endurance and payload capacity when operating in 6,000 foot altitude and 95 degree environments, commonly known as “6K/95 high/hot” conditions — the most demanding environment for rotary-wing operations.
The AAS-72X+’s performance will exceed the Army’s previously published 6K/95 endurance requirement of 2 hours and 12 minutes plus a 20 minute fuel reserve, while carrying a 2,800 pound useful payload for mission equipment and crew.
EADS North America has delivered more than 210 UH-72A Lakotas to the Army and five the U.S. Navy, all on schedule and on budget.
Here’s EADS rival Sikorsky’s plan the scout chopper contest.