Redstone Report: RSA delivers helicopters to Iraqi Army - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Redstone Report: RSA delivers helicopters to Iraqi Army

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Redstone Arsenal's Foreign Military Sales group is expected to deliver a total of 30 armed reconnaissance helicopters to the Iraqi Army by the end of 2012. Redstone Arsenal's Foreign Military Sales group is expected to deliver a total of 30 armed reconnaissance helicopters to the Iraqi Army by the end of 2012.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

U.S. military operations are winding down in Iraq, which means the Iraqi Army needs new equipment to maintain security in the country.

Redstone Arsenal's Foreign Military Sales group is expected to deliver a total of 30 armed reconnaissance helicopters to the Iraqi Army by the end of 2012.

They routinely sell equipment to countries all over the world, but officials said this project is different.

"This is unique in that it's a customer defined aircraft configuration. So, this aircraft does not exist in the U.S. Army inventory," said Lt. Col. Courtney Cote, Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter Project Manager.

All of the equipment, technology and design elements on the new helicopter were custom-created for the Iraqi Army. Project leaders selected a commercial Bell 407 helicopter for the sale.

They transformed the 407 with commercial and military modifications.

Cote said delivering these aircraft is a crucial step in maintaining stability in Iraq now that U.S. Army soldiers are gone.

"We've brought back all of our forces and now they need the capability to fill that vacuum that was created by our departure," he said.

The Army has already delivered three Bell 407 helicopters from Huntsville to Iraq. The Iraqi Army worked with U.S. Advisors to train their troops on the new equipment. The U.S. Army will deliver the remaining 27 aircraft by the end of this year.

The custom venture also helped the team at Redstone with future projects for our Army.

"We learned a lot of lessons on how to do design, integration and qualification here on Redstone Arsenal on this program that are leveraged now forward to the OH-58 F program," Cote said. 

The Cockpit and Sensor Upgrade Program (CASUP) will allow the Kiowa OH-58 F to stay in the air until 2025. Many members of the team working on CASUP also worked on the Bell 407 transformation.

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