5/10/2007 - Atlanta, GA -- The ARH Program continues
to accomplish critical events during the System
Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase. Commenting
on the progress of the program, President and CEO of
Bell, Dick Millman noted, "We recently completed two
significant events in support of a Milestone C (Low
Rate Initial Production) decision. These are critical
paths to the successful fielding of the ARH-70A. The
Bell and Army Teams have worked closely over the life
of the ARH Program to bring it to this point. Overall
the aircraft is performing well and receiving many
positive comments from the Army/Bell test pilot team."
Recently completed events include a demonstration of
the ARH digital battlefield capabilities to a
representative from the Department of Defense. The
demonstration was conducted from the ARH Mobile
Systems Integration Laboratory (SIL) at the Bell Xworx
facility in Arlington, TX.
The ARH SIL was connected over the tactical internet
(Blue Force Tracker/L-band) with CH-47F, UH-60M,
OH-58D platform SILs using the Force XXI Battle
Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) located in
Huntsville, AL. The event confirmed that the ARH-70A
meets the threshold criteria of the Army's Net Ready
Key Performance Parameter (KPP).
The second Milestone C pre-requisite event, the Early
User Test (EUT) was completed on April 25th at the
Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth, Texas. The Army's
requirement is for an ARH-70A to be flight-ready
within 15 minutes of arrival in a transport aircraft
like the Air Force's C-130 Hercules or C-17
The event, conducted by the Army Test and Evaluation
Command, evaluated an Army Load Team's ability to
prepare two ARH-70As for transport, load them in a
C-130, download, and prepare for flight. Loading
preparations include folding the blades and stowing
the Target Acquisition Sensor Suite (TASS).
All timed trials were successful and the Army team
achieved an exceptional "download flight-ready" time
of less than 13 against the 15 minute requirement.
This capability allows commanders to rapidly shift
assets in theater. A third Milestone C pre-requisite
event, a Limited User Test (LUT), is tentatively set
for late 2007.
ARH flight testing continues with system development
and integration. To date, the ARH Program has
completed nearly 600 flight test hours. System Design
and Development (SDD) aircraft #1 leads with over 100
flight hours. It has reached a ceiling up to 14,000
feet and flight envelope expansion with external
stores. The Honeywell HTS900-2 engine has successfully
completed over 125 hours of flight testing and
continues to demonstrate exceptional performance.
Source: Bell Helicopter Press Release