PEO Aviation Update / By BG Thomas H. Todd III: This article is dedicated to the tremendous efforts of countless professionals and their continued commitment to delivering advanced capability to our Army aviators every day.
The Gray Eagle Extended Range (GE-ER) completed successful Follow-On Test and Evaluation in August 2018 at Edwards Air Force Base, Ca. The Gray Eagle-ER demonstrated the ability to provide the loiter time on station at a specified operational range with a significant increase in endurance capability over the baseline Gray Eagle aircraft. / COURTESY PHOTO
This exemplifies the rich tradition of Army Aviation, which for more than 70 years has evolved the fleet to provide the required capabilities to our Soldiers and personnel downrange.
I’d also like to thank two great partners in this endeavor. MG Gayler, Commanding General, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, and MG Gabram, CG, Aviation and Missile Command, both provide great leadership support to all efforts within the program executive office. We are actively focused on reducing the burden on our Soldiers, providing resources and combat power when and where required, and delivering the decisive advantage on the battlefield.
I am proud of the accomplishments of the project managers in my formation who in the heat of executing on our commitments to the Soldier, often don’t take credit for the innovations that have enabled us to respond to the demand signals of our Army and partners with agility. In this issue you will have the opportunity to receive updates from four of my nine project managers, who collectively led efforts to equip the field with over 11,000 platforms and systems of critical aviation capability in 2018 and deployed approximately 1,300 people in support of combatant commander requirements around the globe.
Current Program Highlights
The Aviation Enterprise is focused on supporting the Army’s modernization strategy – to make Soldiers and units more lethal to win extended land campaigns and enable them to come home safely. We look forward to realizing capabilities forecasted by the Army Futures Command science and technology efforts.
We recognize to most effectively serve our Soldiers, now and in the future, we must begin with a clear understanding of how our systems are operated – a combat aviation brigade (CAB) system of systems. We are committed to delivering enhanced capability to our Soldiers today, while setting conditions for the integration of future technological enhancements and capability in the CAB.
Our imperative as the materiel developer is to strike a balance through a disciplined approach to ensure we are delivering affordable solutions that can be produced and supported at scale, are available when and where needed, and are survivable through optimized countermeasures. In an ever-changing environment, my directive to my PMs is simple: don’t get distracted – stay the course and focus on our core competency: designing, developing, delivering and supporting advanced aviation capability.
In the near-term, we are committed to delivering on several capabilities that are performing well as we put them to test. For example, the AH-64E Version 6 upgrade, CH-47F Advanced Composite Rotor Blades, and MQ-1C Gray Eagle Extended Range are demonstrating impressive increases in lethality, range, and enhanced intelligence and communications.
The capabilities we are developing in the mid-term are essential scene-setters for future growth and integration on future platforms. The Improved Turbine Engine will provide a 150% increase of shaft horsepower in high-hot environments for the current Apache and Black Hawk fleet, while serving as the power plant for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft platform.
While we are always challenging ourselves to find creative ways to iterate quickly, we will not compromise the safety of our Soldiers. We are committed to holding the equipment manufacturers and ourselves accountable for the solutions we have been authorized and entrusted to shepherd. We are executing our mission with a Servant’s mentality and will continue to equip Soldiers with the aviation capability required to operate with confidence and advantage.
BG Thomas H. Todd III is the U.S. Army Program Executive Officer for Aviation located at Redstone Arsenal, AL.