U.S. Army Backing Off On AAS Plans

By Amy Butler, Graham Warwick
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology
October 28, 2013
Credit: Bell Helicopter Concept

The U.S. Army appears poised once again to either delay or outright terminate its latest effort to replace the 1970s-era Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, with budget cuts threatening its long-gestating plans for the Armed Aerial Scout (AAS) program.

If either happens, the effect will be felt by a rotorcraft industry starving for new military programs after a decade of contracts to keep existing platforms flying for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And it could mar the relationship between the Pentagon and industry, which continues to spend company funds on research and development following cues from the Defense Department, but with diminishing hope of seeing a financial return anytime soon.

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