H1 Enters OPEVAL at China Lake


Released on Wednesday, May 10, 2006
United States of America
AH-1W Super Cobra
AH-1Z Viper
UH-1N Huey
UH-1Y Venom
DAB - Defense Acquisition Board
IOC - Initial Operational Capability
LRIP - Low Rate Initial Production
OPEVAL - Operational Evaluation
Bell Helicopter, a Textron company announced at 8:00 AM Tuesday, May 9th, four H-1 aircraft, two AH-1Zs and two UH-1Ys, headed west from Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Maryland to begin the Program's long awaited Operations Evaluation (OPEVAL) period.

The aircraft will fly to China Lake Naval Air Station in California where they will spend the next six months undergoing numerous tests and evaluations to determine the H-1 aircraft operational suitability. Start of OPEVAL represents the last exit criteria before a Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) is to decide on Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) phase III.

The H-1 Upgrade Program will replace the current fleet of AH-1W and high time UH-1N aircraft by providing 180 AH-1Z and 100 UH-1Y new, zero-time, aircraft starting in 2006. Key to the program is the fact that the two different models of aircraft have 84% commonality of parts. Initial Operational Capability (IOC) is scheduled for 2008.

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