Brig. Gen. Tim Crosby described Army aviation's goal of establishing a single voice to guide the science and technology community on how to best support current and future fleets.

The program executive officer for aviation spoke at the Huntsville Aerospace Marketing Association luncheon June 12 at the Officers and Civilians Club,

"Our enemy is not stupid," he said. "We've got to be very proactive."

Crosby said his team bears the responsibility of executing the life cycle management of manned and unmanned aviation weapon systems for the current force and the transformation of the future force.

"Because we currently operate four to six times the normal operational tempo, the Army is continuously trying to get smarter on how to conduct our business," Crosby said. "The bottom line is we've got to invest in our future. And our first consideration should be the training requirement of the brigade commander."

The Program Executive Office for Aviation is the Army's manager for the Apache Helicopter, Cargo Helicopter, Utility Helicopter, Unmanned Aircraft System, Armed Scout Helicopter, and Aviation Systems programs. "All six programs are led by a combat veteran colonel, who provides instant credibility with the war fighter," Crosby said. "And behind each of those green suiters are our civilians and contractors."

There have been over 3 million hours flown in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom since 2003. Despite the great increase in operational tempo, Army aviation's mission capable rates still exceed the standard. "We are blessed to have the work force that we do," Crosby said.

He gave some examples of PEO Aviation's accomplishments and future goals. He said 1,144 new aircraft have been delivered to the field in 2008, including 347 new UAS systems. Over 4,911 additional aircraft are planned for future delivery; 3,900 will be UAS systems. Some of PEO Aviation's specific initiatives for the future of Army aviation include accelerating the Aircraft Survivability Equipment; funding the Apache Block III conversion, the Black Hawk UH-60M upgrade, and the CH-47F; investing in common cockpit, fly-by-wire; aviation munitions and science and technology; initiating joint multi-role helicopter program, resourcing Army UAS requirements, and purchasing the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter. "We're taking the time to do that properly," Crosby said.

PEO Aviation's work force includes approximately 2,250 civilians, military and contractors, with about 260 in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Crosby thanked the Huntsville Aerospace Marketing Association for "taking on the unknown" in light of the current national economy. Families and employers have all been affected in one form or another, he said, but despite all that, this community continues to strive to advance aerospace technologies and capabilities and continue to fight against all odds.

"You all represent the type of heroes for the small businesses," he said.