Bell Helicopter, May 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 Globemaster III.
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.
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