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Helo Upgrades Touted by Marine Corps Official.

In spite of their sophistication, U.S. military weapon platforms are "predictable," warned Marine Brig. Gen. James F. Amos, assistant deputy commandant for aviation. "Our enemies are just as smart as we are," he told a defense industry gathering in Quantico, Va.

He said the U.S. military forces need a "multi-dimensional maneuver capability set," to stay ahead of the competition. These capabilities include "dominant situation awareness, speed, timeliness and precision-strike ability," said Amos.

Today, 87 percent of Marine aviation ordnance consists of precision-guided weapons and munitions, he noted.

One key program in the Marine Corps today is to upgrade old helicopters and outfit them with modern war-fighting capabilities.

The plan is to rebuild 280 legacy helicopter systems--100 UH-1 Hueys and 180 AH-1 Cobras--at a cost of $9.4 billion. The H-1 upgrade program will produce "a fleet of zero time helicopters," Amos said, "at a fraction of the cost for a comparable number of new rotorcraft.

Nearly everything that goes into these upgraded choppers will be new, "except the airframes," said Amos. The Cobras and Hueys will share common cockpit configurations, new targeting systems, radar, firepower and all-composite, bearing-less rotor systems.

According to prime contractor, Bell Helicopter/Textron, of Fort Worth, Texas, new safety features will include additional armor for crew protection, improved crashworthy seating and self-sealing fuel cells that decrease chances of igniting leaking fuel if the aircraft is hit.
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Title Annotation:military helicopters; James F. Amos
Author:Willingham, Stephen
Publication:National Defense
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2000
Words:232
Previous Article:Marines Are Climbing Out of the "Research and Development Bathtub".
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