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Army Aviation Remains in High Demand

Maj. Gen. David Francis speaks during a Warriors Corner session at the 2019 AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition Oct. 16, 2019.
Photo by: 
Rebecca Sell for AUSA
Friday, October 18, 2019

The demand for Army aviation will continue to grow beyond current requirements, which are already high, said Maj. Gen. David Francis, commander of the Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker, Alabama.

"The demand for aviation is as high as it ever has been and is not getting lower," he said.

Francis made his remarks during a presentation on the Army’s Future Vertical Lift modernization efforts Oct. 16 at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition. 

Future Vertical Lift is one of the Army’s six modernization priorities, and the service is moving forward to develop modern, more capable replacements for its current fleet of helicopters.

The effort is fully underway, other panelists said. "We've had a breakout year in vertical lift," said Brig. Gen. Wally Rugen, director of the Future Vertical Lift Cross-Functional Team. 

"We want to maintain momentum" on the progress, said Maj. Gen. Thomas Todd, who leads Program Executive Office Aviation. 

As the demand for Army aviation grows, current platforms remain part of the future of Army aviation, officials said.

The UH-60 Black Hawk, the CH-47 Chinook and the AH-64 Apache helicopters will remain in the service for several more years. "We need to keep them ready to fight tonight," Francis said, adding that when the Army thinks about the future of Army aviation, "we must look at how to maximize what we have."

- Susan Katz Keating for AUSA