Most Navy officers agree that building the first series of Arleigh Burke destroyers (DDG-51s) without facilities for embarking helicopters was a serious mistake. Old wooden fishing boats often have a small helicopter for scouting, yet these billion-dollar destroyers have nothing. The easiest and fastest way for the Navy to enhance its capabilities is to buy tiny two-seat helicopters.
Recent advances have made it possible to produce tiny, reliable, low-cost helicopters, such as the ASI Ultrasport 496 This helicopter can shuttle parts and personnel and a perform a myriad of other utility missions. They will prove superior for many daytime combat missions since they have a tiny radar, heat, and noise signature. Sea rescue is easy since their low rotor downwash allows them to pluck people directly out the water.
The Navy should put at least one of these helicopters on all of its ships, including small Patrol Coastal (PC) ships. They take up little space, the Navy could even weld small platforms on the bow of ships for them. They do not require million-dollar aviators, enlisted men can fly them after a couple months of training. At a cost of only $50,000 each, the Navy could buy one for all 300 of its combat ships for less than a single anti-submarine helicopter. The cost of sending a few of these on test deployments aboard Burke destroyers is small, and ship captains would quickly affirm their value.
Carlton Meyer editorG2mil@Gmail.com
The Ultrasport 496 was designed to meet the FAA regulations as an amateur built kit (FAA 21.191(g)). A Special 495 lbs. empty weight ultralight trainer version is available by special order. The ultralight trainer can be exempted under part 103 for two seat ultralight instruction. The Ultrasport 496 can be registered and outfittd for either VFR or IFR flight. The first flight of the 496 was completed in July, 1995. It has since undergone complete flight trials and features a powerful 115hp engine, replacing the 55hp powerplant in the single seaters. The 496s include dual controls as standard equipment. A ballistic parachute may also be installed as an added safety feature later.
Type:Two Seat Ultralight Helicopter
*Special 495 lbs. empty weight ultralight version available by special order