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U.S. Army outlined modernization priorities of helicopter fleet

The U.S. Army leaders released additional details about the current aviation fleet and noting that modernizing and maintaining current helicopters is vitally important.

Maj. Gen. David Francis, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general, outlined aircraft modernization priorities at the Association of the U.S. Army’s “Hot Topic” forum on Army aviation.

The Army is “not just concerned about (FVL), we’re concerned about the entire aviation force,” Francis said. “When I talk about the aviation force that is going to fight and win in future environments, I’m talking about the UH-60 (Black Hawk), the CH-47 (Chinook), and the Apaches we have today.”

Modernization is the key to their survivability, he said. Regarding the Apache, the Army awarded Boeing a $34 million contract Aug. 28 to integrate the Improved Turbine Engine Program — ITEP — into the AH-64 attack helicopter.

Additionally, earlier this year, General Electric Aviation was awarded a $517 million contract by the Army to engineer, manufacture, and develop the ITEP.

The ITEP engine requires “a 3,000 shaft horsepower engine that reduces fuel consumption by 25 percent and increases service life by 20 percent,” officials said.

“We must make sure that we’re giving the best capabilities to our sons and daughters,” Francis said, referring to today’s equipment. “We’re sending [them] into harm’s way on any given day, so they must have the most modernized equipment that we can possibly give them.”

Through targeted readiness, the Army plans to ensure its current aviation fleet is constantly modernized and ready to fight, and win, he said, because the Army will “have these fleets well into the future.”

Upgrades to current aircraft are intended to increase lethality and survivability on today’s battlefield.

In January, Army officials introduced affordable and relevant technical modernization upgrades to the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, said Jackie Allen, industrial engineer, Corpus Christi Army Depot, …read more

Read more here:: Defence Blog (Land)

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