Fast to the Fight: Team US101 Demonstrates Helicopter's Air Transportability
WASHINGTON, D.C., November 18th, 2002 -- Team US101, a collaboration between Lockheed Martin and AgustaWestland Inc., today announced the successful air transportability demonstration of the medium-lift helicopter that will be built and marketed in the U.S. as the US101. The loading exercise was performed October 23, 2002 at RAF Brize Norton, UK, where a European version of the aircraft - the EH101 - was prepared for air transportation and loaded onto a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III in less than two hours. Actual loading of the aircraft was performed in 15 minutes.
Preparation is straightforward, involving removal of the helicopter's main rotor blades, and automatic folding of the tail pylon. On arrival at its destination, the helicopter can be removed from the C-17 aircraft and prepared for flight in less than two hours by simply reversing the procedures used for loading. Systems checks are quickly undertaken using the aircraft's onboard system.
"The speed at which air transportability of the helicopter was demonstrated is testament to its multimission design," said Stephen C. Moss, president of Arlington, Va.-based AgustaWestland Inc. "And it shows that Team US101 has the creativity to develop practical solutions to meet customer requirements and deliver them to the market rapidly."
"Air transportability gives mission commanders the flexibility to rapidly deploy the world's most advanced medium-lift helicopter anywhere in the world in support of the U.S. warfighter," said Stephen D. Ramsey, vice president of Aerospace Systems at Lockheed Martin Systems Integration - Owego, which will serve as the aircraft's prime contractor and systems integrator. "We have now demonstrated that the US101 is fast to the fight, and meets a key U.S. Air Force requirement for the aircraft's combat search and rescue role."
The US101 can also be self deployed using its long range internal fuel tanks, auxiliary tanks or air refueling, thereby adding even greater flexibility. The Canadian Armed Forces demonstrated self deployment during the winter of 2001-2002 when new search and rescue (SAR) aircraft were flown 7,100 miles from Italy to Canada.
The loading exercise in England was witnessed by representatives of both prospective and current customers of the helicopter from the U.S. and U.K. armed services; Ministry of Defence C-17; Merlin Mk3 and Support Amphibious Battlefield Rotorcraft (SABR) program offices as well as RAF C-17 personnel from 99 Sqd., the Joint Air Transportation Establishment (JATE) and 28 Sqd. RAF Benson where the RAF operates the EH101 Merlin Mk3 in the battlefield support role. The Lockheed Martin and AgustaWestland team was also on hand.
The US101 helicopter is ideally suited to meet the U.S. market for medium-lift requirements. The American-built aircraft will provide the proven mission performance of the EH101 helicopter, the most advanced helicopter in its class with 27,000 flying hours to date, low ownership costs, and the ability to operate in austere environments with a minimum of support.
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