Procurement: Replacement for the OH-58 Arrives


July 9, 2006: The U.S. Army is buying 332 UH-145 helicopters, for about nine million dollars each, from European firm EADS. The UH-145 is a militarized version of the EC145, a helicopter very popular with law enforcement agencies, including the FBI. The UH-145 purchase is a side effect of the cancellation of the Comanche helicopter, which was perceived as too expensive and complex for army needs. The UH-145 will replace the aging OH-58 scout helicopters. The 3.6 ton UH-145 has a top speed of 260 kilometers an hour and a max range of 660 kilometers. Average endurance per sortie is about two hours. The helicopter has a crew of two, and can carry up to eight passengers, or about three-quarters of a ton of cargo or weapons. The EC145 was introduced four years ago, and has been very popular with its users. The first UH-145s will arrive in less than a year. The army is also buying smaller Bell 407s, also as replacements for the OH-58 (which is itself a militarized version of the older Bell 206.) The UH-145 also serves as a lighter version of the UH-60 transport.




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