ATLANTA–The increasing weight of Army helicopters has become such a problem a key officer believes it is limiting, as opposed to providing, options to a commander.
U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker Commanding General Maj. Gen. William Gayler said Friday the service aircraft have been gaining weight “for all the right reasons,” including new technology designed to protect crew or passengers. This technology includes countermeasures to protect helicopters from ground-fired missiles. Army Aviation Center of Excellence Capability Development and Integration Directorate Director Col. Thomas von Eschenbach said Tuesday in an interview these include aircraft survivability technologies like detect or defeat technologies and expendable flares.
The problem, Gayler said, is that increased weight decreases maneuverability, available ammunition and the number of warfighters the aircraft can hold. He said the Army is currently using nine UH-60 Black Hawks to move a platoon, which consists of between 16 and 44 soldiers, when it could be using four Black Hawks.