US Army developing new fixed-wing aircraft
The US Army is refining an initial capabilities document for a new fixed-wing utility aircraft that is designed to replace more than 112 airframes with a common platform. The new platform should be able to perform a range of key mission sets and services, officials said.
“We manage 73 different series of aircraft and more than 40 different designs,” said Colonel Brian Tachias, Project Manager, Fixed-Wing, Programme Executive Office Aviation. “A common cockpit and platform will reduce the amount of resources needed to train pilots and sustain the aircraft. Moving to one common fleet will reduce the manpower needed and allow us to gain efficiencies by reducing the number of contracts.”
PM Fixed-Wing, established in October of last year, was stood up to create a central hub to manage the Army’s fleet of fixed-wing aircraft. As many as 37 different fixed-wing aircraft programmes are now consolidated and centrally managed under the purview of the project office.
“Centrally managing Army fixed-wing aircraft will help to achieve improvements in safety, airworthiness certification, configuration management and aircraft maintenance. We will also gain efficiencies by reducing the number of contracts where it makes sense,” Tachias said.
The Army has a current fleet of approximately 377 fixed-wing aircraft spanning a range of functions. Plans to develop a new Fixed-Wing Utility Aircraft emerged out of a fleet-wide Army assessment of fixed-wing aircraft conducted by PM Fixed-Wing and the TRADOC Capability Manager-Lift, Tachias added.