AgustaWestland is pleased to announce that Test Vehicle 3, the third helicopter built for the VH-71 Presidential Helicopter Replacement Programme, made its initial flight Feb. 27 in Yeovil, England marking the fourth helicopter to enter flight test. TV-3 is due to arrive at the Presidential Helicopter Support Facility here on Mar. 17 and will then travel to Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, N.Y. for final assembly and mission systems integration. TV-3 will be the first vehicle tested that is outfitted with mission systems. Once missionized TV-3 will join the other three test vehicles, TV-1, TV-2 and TV-5 already in flight testing that have accumulated more than 650 total hours of flight test. As a missionized aircraft, TV-3 will be able to validate in-flight data, which has previously only been evaluated in laboratories. One additional test vehicle is scheduled for flight testing and missionization after TV-3 before the initial lot of production aircraft are delivered to Patuxent River.
With fuel system testing already complete, VH-71 flight test officials are currently concentrating on satellite communications and high-powered FM Radio testing with tail rotor and flight load survey testing on the horizon. In addition to forward movement on flight testing of Increment 1 test vehicles, which currently meet or exceed all key performance parameters, a parallel and concurrent effort supporting the flight test programme is the Systems Integration Lab currently operational at the Presidential Helicopter Support Facility.
The SIL consists of test benches used to evaluate individual subsystems currently in development. A larger SIL facility at Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, NY includes a master systems bench — a full-scale functional mockup of the VH-71 cockpit and cabin. The systems integration laboratories allow VH-71 programme engineers to test VH-71 avionics and mission systems prior to installation aboard the aircraft. TV-3 is expected to arrive in Patuxent River, Md. Mar. 17. Once final assembly and mission systems integration is completed at Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, N.Y., TV-3 will join the other three presidential test vehicles, TV-1, TV-2 and TV-5, already in flight testing.
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