By Skip Vaughn, AMCOMSeptember 18, 2008
When the Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command's Security Assistance Management Directorate needed to get helicopters quickly to the Iraqis, it knew where to turn - the Prototype Integration Facility.
The facility, part of the Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center, converted five Bell 206 helicopters from commercial to military use. The aircraft were modified for delivery to the Iraqi Air Force.
"This is the PIF working in support of SAMD," Danny Featherston, manager of the Prototype Integration Facility, said. "We had a very tight schedule to outfit five Bell Jet Rangers for the Iraqi Air Force. And this is part of our trying to equip the Iraqis. And as soon as we can get them trained and equipped, we can pull our Soldiers and civilians out of there."
Helping the facility on this mission is the Prototype Integration Facility's prime contractor JVYS, Joint Venture between Yulista Management Services and Science & Engineering Services. The aircraft should be ready by Nov. 15.
"It's absolutely a gorgeous aircraft," Dan Parker, deputy director of the Security Assistance Management Directorate, said. "This is a major success for us."
The helicopters will be delivered to a U.S. training school in Iraq and eventually turned over to the Iraqis, according to Miranda Oden, a branch chief at the Prototype Integration Facility.
Maj. Gen. Jim Myles, commander of AMCOM LCMC, co-piloted one of the helicopters Sept. 8 from the facility to the Madison County Executive Airport in Meridianville. Dean Doudna of Fort Rucker was the pilot for this demonstration flight.
"This isn't about me flying the aircraft," Myles said. "This is about helping get our Soldiers back (home). It's about giving the Iraqis a way to defend their own country so our Soldiers and civilians can get back. And the PIF is doing that."