The US Army will spend an extra US$10m to fix a potentially unsafe flaw on the European-designed Lakota helicopter, it has announced.

The helicopters suffer from overheating and have been deemed “unsafe to fly”, says Army spokesman Major Tom McCuin.

The army is trying to fix the problem by adding air conditioners to the helicopters, which can add weight, reducing overall performance.

During test flights in 80°F weather, the cockpit temperature rose to above 104°F – the point at which many aircraft systems can overheat and shut down.

Although no cockpit equipment was damaged or malfunctioned during the testing the army has concluded the Lakotas are not effective for use in hot environments especially in the Gulf.

By Ahsanul Islam