EADS North America and its industry team of American Eurocopter and Lockheed Martin are independently funding and developing three AAS-72X helicopters to demonstrate the performance, capabilities, and maturity of the rotary-wing aircraft for the U.S. Army’s Armed Aerial Scout mission. The first AAS-72X Technical Demonstration Aircraft will be operational in late 2010 and will be used for mission equipment and weapon system integration, performance testing, and survivability validations. The AAS-72X is derived from the UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter. Production of the AAS-72X would take place at the Columbus, MS, helicopter center of excellence, where the UH-72A currently is assembled for the Army. In addition to the three demonstration helicopters, Lockheed Martin has established a high-fidelity systems integration lab for the AAS-72X’s mission equipment package at its Orlando, FL, facility.