YUMA PROVING GROUND, Arizona, Oct. 15, 1970 -- Army Cheyenne attack helicopters are daily putting on convincing displays of precision air to ground fire power and high speed low level flight performance here at the U.
YUMA PROVING GROUND, Arizona, Oct. 15, 1970 -- Army Cheyenne attack helicopters are daily putting on convincing displays of precision air to ground fire power and high speed low level flight performance here at the U.S. Army's vast desert firing ranges.
Flown by Lockheed test pilots, armed Cheyenne's have been demonstrating the various weapons they would employ to counter a mechanized armoured threat. The unique helicopter pops up from concealment of the mountainous terrain, to shatter targets from hover or alternatively high speed attack modes with 40 mm grenades, 30 mm canon rounds, aerial rockets and tank busting TOW missiles. The flight test Cheyenne is making high speed runs at 234 mph (204 knots) true airspeed.
A lockheed official said, "The Cheyenne weapons system provides unequalled attack capability in the tactical environment for which it was designed."
Among the helicopter's superior features cited were the full spectrum of munitions which give the crew a choice of armaments to match expected targets; the complete solution computerized fire control which gives the weapons very high accuracies and first round hit probabilities; the self-sufficient and accurate navigation system; designed in survivability features; and the optimum combination of rigid rotor and pusher propeller which provides superior flight performance.
The spokesman said, "Current demonstrations exemplify the progress made in the development of the Cheyenne in laboratory and flight testing over the past year."
The Lockheed-California Company is conducting testing under an Army development contract. More than 1550 flights have been completed by Lockheed test pilots and gunners. Army pilots will begin weapons and flight evaluation during a series of tests to be conducted here in the fall of this year.
Lockheed's efforts during 1969 and 1970 have been designed to prove all Cheyenne sub-systems at combinations of speeds and maneuvers nerve achieved by other combat helicopters.
Lockheed management believes that the Cheyenne has demonstrated its superior characteristics of accuracy of fire, speed, and overall effectiveness.
Cheyenne test program accomplishments to date were explained by the Lockheed spokesman:
All of the Cheyenne's weapons have been successfully fired in extensive testing. The XM-51 nose turret, mounting the 40 mm grenade launcher, and the XM-52 belly turret with a 360 0 field of fire and mounting the 30 mm automatic weapon have been fired singly and simultaneously. Both weapons have been fired successfully by the gunner using a swivelling periscopic sight and by the pilot using a helmet sight system.
The navigation system together with the night vision system, which provides the gunner with an optical display of the target as clear as a black and white television picture, gives the Cheyenne around the clock operational capability.
The tests have clearly demonstrated that the various fire control components, including the laser range finder, stabilized sight, velocity measuring equipment and the computer, have been integrated into an effective weapon system the spokesman explained.
TOW missiles have been fired at hover and during high speed maneuvering flights. Repeated hits on targets have been achieved.
The Cheyenne's capability to quickly suppress enemy threats contributes to its survivability in the mid intensity tactical environment for which it was designed.
He cited as contributing factors to battlefield survivability, the Cheyenne's ability to manoeuvre at high speed, the ability to identify and attack targets without having to rise high above the masking terrain, the ability to attack from a standoff position without having to overfly enemy defenses, its conventional but "beefed up" passive defenses -- and its active defensive capability for suppressive fire while attacking heavily defended targets.