US Army de­vel­op­ing new fixed-wing air­craft

SP's MAI - - AEROSPACE -

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.

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