NATIONAL HARBOR, MD: Degraded Visual Environment, or DVE, is jargon for the problem helicopter pilots face when their rotors kick up blinding clouds of dust or other debris. DVE also describes the problem the entire rotorcraft industry is facing as it tries to anticipate what new aircraft the Army can actually afford in this blindingly uncertain federal budget situation. At this week’s Army Aviation Symposium, hosted outside Washington by the Association of the United States Army, the future was obscured by the fog, not of war, but of funding.

“We’re trying to see 20 years into the future, really,” said EADS. Keep reading →

Those Navy SEALs who killed Osama bin Laden arrived at his hideout in Pakistan by helicopter. While few Americans have seen video of those helos in flight, that is just the most dramatic example of how much the military relies on such machines these days.

No military equipment has been more pivotal for U.S. forces in the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere over the last decade than rotorcraft, but you’d never guess that from the relative pittance the Pentagon annually spends to make them better and safer. Keep reading →