06.02.10

Leahy: $54.7 M. Army Contract For Continuation Of Work On Goodrich-Vergennes’ Helicopter Diagnostics Unit Will Save Lives and Tax Dollars

‘HUMS units have become a mainstay of U.S. helicopter programs’

VERGENNES, Vt. – Senator Patrick Leahy says a new $54,745,988 U.S. Army contract with Goodrich for additional units of the company’s groundbreaking helicopter maintenance diagnostic system, produced by the firm’s facility here, shows the advanced system has quickly taken its place as a key maintenance feature of U.S. military helicopter programs. 

Leahy just two months ago joined Goodrich employees here to mark shipment of the 2000th system, at that point achieving more than $100 million in helicopter diagnostic system contracts for the Vermont facility.

Goodrich’s Health and Usage Management Systems (HUMS) give mechanics feedback on a helicopter’s engine performance, structural performance, and rotor function and wear, allowing a helicopter to be serviced before major systems fail.  Before the use of HUMS units, helicopters had to be removed from service for routine preventive maintenance.  This downtime unnecessarily grounded some helicopters that did not need servicing while failing to anticipate mechanical failures in others.  Leahy noted that before HUMS, helicopter maintenance was inherently costly and inefficient.  Worst of all, some pilots lost their lives in accidents caused by unforeseen but preventable mechanical problems.  HUMS units give maintenance crews the opportunity to predict and take action to prevent such tragedies.

As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and of its Defense Subcommittee, Leahy led as the panel’s early promoter of the concept and technology behind HUMS.  Enabled by his work, HUMS units have become standard equipment on military helicopters.

The new Army contract, for purchase of new HUMS units for Black Hawk helicopters, will continue Goodrich-Vergennes’ work on the successful and popular project.  HUMS units are already onboard a variety of military and commercial helicopters including Black Hawks, Chinooks, Hueys, Cobras and Lakotas.  The Vermont Air National Guard’s Black Hawk helicopters stationed in Burlington feature HUMS units. 

“This shows that HUMS has firmly taken its place as a cost-saving, life-saving tool in our helicopter programs,” said Leahy.  “In a relatively short time, what started as an R&D project in Addison County has proven itself and has become a mainstay of the Defense Department’s helicopter maintenance efforts.”

Gary Loftus, Vice President and General Manager of Goodrich-Vergennes, said “The men and women of Goodrich in Vergennes are very proud to be supporting the Army War Fighters with our HUMS equipment.  It means a lot to know we’re contributing to their safety and mission success.”

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