FORT RUCKER, Ala. (WDHN) — If you were to buy a new car wouldn’t you take it for a test drive first? On Wednesday, Aviators at Fort Rucker got the chance to see, feel, and hear all about potential aviation equipment the army is looking into buying.
The 8th annual Army Aviation Industry Days allows partners with the Army the opportunity to show off their new technologies with aviators that will possibly be operating the equipment.
“We very much want our young mid-grade and seasoned aviators to look at what we are doing and making sure that we get their feedback, capture it,” Gen. Walter Rugen, Director of the Future Vertical Lift Cross-Functional Team said. “That is part of the design, and that is fundamental in this regard. We are getting great feedback from the people who ultimately will have to fly and fight these aircraft.”
These sessions are extremely important because it allows people to meet face-to-face and discuss what will be beneficial to the soldiers out on the battlefield. This ensures the products will be useful, effective, and affordable for the military.
“Continue to share ideas and continue to develop requirements and continue to cross-talk about what is technically feasible and what’s not,” Commanding General at Fort Rucker Maj. Gen. David J. Francis said. “Then how we envision using the tools industry can bring to us for military application.
The panel said Aviation Industry Days gives their aviators the opportunity to fly before they buy. The event features everything from drones, computer systems, and even new helicopters.
“This year we thought it was appropriate to bring the aircraft out and let all the customers see it and potential future army aviators to fly the aircraft,” Director Special Ops Aviation at Sikorsky Aircraft Corp, Mike Mudd said.
The aircraft built by Sikorsky Aircraft Corp and Bell will both compete to win the contract to replace existing aircraft. Each has its own technologies and features that the Army will have to consider.
“We like to use operator experience, the experience of the individuals here at the aviation center,” Vice President Future Vertical Lift Strategy at Bell, Carl Coffman said. “The experience that we bring as former Army aviators, we all grew up here, went flying school here, served here. We understand what Fort Rucker brings to our ability to develop what the customer needs.”