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Last Chance For The VH-71?  
User currently offlineAirRyan From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 2532 posts, RR: 5
Posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 10245 times:

Outstanding article and PDF's from AIN on the VH-71
http://www.ainonline.com/news/single...idential-helo-teeters-on-the-edge/

The House and the Senate need to hash out their differences this week, so it will be interesting. I don't know how anyone after reading the facts as presented in the AIN aritcle (look at the PDF of the magazine article for the data/charts) can be opposed to the Increment 1 buy.

109 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinePar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 7229 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 10208 times:

Well to be simple, the whole production and procurement process was screwed up from the get go, one would assume that the "interim" a/c were being purchased to get new a/c in the fleet while the final version was completed, 6 years late for an interim a/c, how late would the final version be, 12?
$3 billion already spent and not one flyable a/c, is this the OEM's way of ensuring that all funds are spent and not some partial program, get 3 birds in the air then the customer cancels the rest, better to have all a/c non-flyable at the same time, make it more difficult to cancel. Now another 400 million plus has to be spent, for increment one a/c which supposedly still have the interim moniker on them as the fail safe area's are still that, at least according to the article. So in addition to making them flyable will additional funds also be needed to get the fail safe up to spec?


User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12563 posts, RR: 25
Reply 2, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 10171 times:



Quoting Par13del (Reply 1):
$3 billion already spent and not one flyable a/c

The article says:

Quote:
Still undecided, or at least not announced, is what will happen to the nine VH-71As already manufactured, the Lockheed Martin mission equipment package, the intellectual property and everything else for which the taxpayers have paid some $3.3 billion. Some suggest AgustaWestland may buy back some of the aircraft, modify them and sell them elsewhere (one of the four test vehicles was industry funded, the rest of the eight helicopters were government funded, five of the latter being the pilot production aircraft). Some or all of the mission equipment package could end up in the next VXX helicopter. And some VH-71s could be converted for other U.S. military operations.

My guess is only about 1 in 5 chance that VH-71 gets more funding.



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineJackonicko From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2008, 472 posts, RR: 11
Reply 3, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 10170 times:

Yes, I concur.

What should happen is almost impossible because of the politics of this.


User currently offlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8544 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 10154 times:



Quoting Par13del (Reply 1):
So in addition to making them flyable will additional funds also be needed to get the fail safe up to spec?

Your post is dead-on. The -71 is primarily a financial engineering and taxpayer money extraction program. I respect that they seem to have done an effective job extracting money. A company's #1 job is to make money for its shareholders, and they are doing that. The question is why the government made such a laughably poor contract that funded this hole-in-the-ground.


User currently offlineJackonicko From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2008, 472 posts, RR: 11
Reply 5, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 10113 times:

Rubbish!

Your post is nonsense.

The VH-71 may not meet a spec whose goalposts shifted ridiculously, but it remains a better helicopter than the competitor can ever be, and it is already a vast improvement over what you have.

You can spend another £3.5 Bn and get a fleet of 19 top of the line helicopters, or you can throw away the £3.1 Bn already spent and pay $400 m in penalties, and $50 m in costs, and then spend more than $10 Bn to get an inferior alternative.

It ought to be a no brainer.


User currently offlineAirRyan From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 2532 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 10089 times:



Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 5):
You can spend another £3.5 Bn and get a fleet of 19 top of the line helicopters, or you can throw away the £3.1 Bn already spent and pay $400 m in penalties, and $50 m in costs, and then spend more than $10 Bn to get an inferior alternative.

It ought to be a no brainer.

That's what I don't understand - how does Gates or anyone justify the termination of this program at this point in time? It only prolongs a new helicopter for the President and costs the taxpayer more money.

Personally, I'll be surprised if it doesn't come out of committee between the House and Senate with $400m in there to continue on with Increment 1; I mean come on, this is the same Congress that voted to give ACORN $8 BILLION dollars in an alleged "economic stimulus" bill.

Schumer said he was going to work to get the money in the Senate version, (evidently lost that debate,) but he's a powerful politician and I disagree with his politics most of the time, but he shouldn't be turned down when all is said and done.


User currently offlinePar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 7229 posts, RR: 8
Reply 7, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 10086 times:



Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 5):
The VH-71 may not meet a spec whose goalposts shifted ridiculously,

Unfortunately, as of today the goalpost is where it is, the time to question whether it should have been moved has long past, we are into consequences now.

Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 5):
but it remains a better helicopter than the competitor can ever be,

I thought the competition was already over and the VH-71 a/c selected, are you suggesting that they re-open the competition?

Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 5):
and it is already a vast improvement over what you have.

On paper yes, now to get the flying part done.

Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 5):
You can spend another £3.5 Bn and get a fleet of 19 top of the line helicopters, or you can throw away the £3.1 Bn already spent and pay $400 m in penalties, and $50 m in costs, and then spend more than $10 Bn to get an inferior alternative.

It ought to be a no brainer.

How exactly is it a no brainer, this a/c is already 6 years delayed, when they finally select a new helicopter this current base EH-101 will probably be obsolete, unless you are saying that it is the pinnacle of helo aviation and the EU, USA, Russians, or Chinese will not be able to produce a more modern a/c in the next 10 years which is probably when the new presidential helo will join the fleet.
Unless your theory is that this is being cancelled because the US does not want to use an a/c not made in the USA?


User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12563 posts, RR: 25
Reply 8, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 10065 times:



Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 5):
The VH-71 may not meet a spec whose goalposts shifted ridiculously

Not trying to increase your blood pressure, Jacko, but the PDF version of the article has a sidebar that seems to say maybe, maybe not. Funny how no one will go on the record. I guess they feel it's a career-limiting move.

Quote:

Several reports suggest that requirements
were added to the original helicopter design after
the program was awarded to Lockheed Martin.
“This is an urban myth,” claimed Joe Haddock of
Sikorsky. “I’ve spoken several times to Tom Laux
[Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy] who has
told me the government did not change one
single requirement.” Laux would not speak to AIN
directly nor would he provide a formal statement
on this question. However, a Navy spokesperson
who works for him said, “Every time I show him
an article claiming requirements were added, he
says, ‘The requirements never changed.’ He is very
clear about this.”
However, one source told AIN, “There was an
urgent need to get an off-the-shelf aircraft and put
in equipment. When you throw in more bells and
whistles, you add weight. The Navy said there was
requirements creep.” And another claimed, “The
White House and Navair went berserk trying to put
stuff in the helicopter; then they wanted more
stuff. It wasn’t mission creep; it was beyond
creep. The whole thing could not have had a
worse outcome.” Haddock said, “Lockheed Martin
does not make helicopters. It makes mission
systems.” He speculates that it therefore did not
fully understand the critical effect extra weight has
on helicopter performance. “To be fair,” he added
diplomatically, “there were a thousand pages in
the RFP [request for proposal] that required
100,000 pages of documentation in the proposal.
One person’s minor requirement can be another’s
major requirement. It’s very complex.”

Lots of finger pointing going on....



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineJackonicko From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2008, 472 posts, RR: 11
Reply 9, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 10046 times:

Par13Del,

If a helicopter isn't flying right now, it's not going to be the next Presidential helicopter. That leaves a very short list of options.

The base AW101 Merlin is a great helicopter - especially for the VIP role - and is probably the most modern and most advanced helicopter flying today.

Realistically, it's down to a Merlin variant or an S-92 variant (the H-53 is too big and too powerful for the White House rose garden, and the H-47 is a non starter for the same reason. Eurocopter don't make anything big enough, and it won't be Chinese or Russian).

The S-92's cabin is too small, and the aircraft would need a fifth MRB and a cabin stretch to even start to compete. And militarising the aircraft for Canada has been so difficult that it makes the VH-71 programme look 'textbook'.

Nevertheless, I suspect that you'll spend billions buying a VH-92 - spending more to get less of a helicopter.


Revelation,

Well well. A Sikorsky man claiming that there was no requirements creep. What a surprise. I wonder what possible motive he'd have for running down the VH-71 and making it look bad..........

I've spoken to people from the SPO, AW, Lockheed and the Navy, and all admit that there has been.


User currently offlinePar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 7229 posts, RR: 8
Reply 10, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 10040 times:



Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 9):
The base AW101 Merlin is a great helicopter - especially for the VIP role - and is probably the most modern and most advanced helicopter flying today.

Thats the reason why the a/c won the competition.

Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 9):
The S-92's cabin is too small, and the aircraft would need a fifth MRB and a cabin stretch to even start to compete. And militarising the aircraft for Canada has been so difficult that it makes the VH-71 programme look 'textbook'

The issue is do they really need the much bigger cabin, Sikorsky seems to think that even though it is smaller it not by that much to be that significant.

Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 9):
Nevertheless, I suspect that you'll spend billions buying a VH-92 - spending more to get less of a helicopter.

Consider that if the competition is redone that this time the OEM will get it right and tell the customer that there is only so much you can add / change before the a/c becomes a 3 bill boondoggle.

The problem in this entire thing has not been the a/c but the folks who turned the project into a black hole, imagine the helo fleet costing 10% of the 179 tanker unit purchase, I'll leave the VC-25 comparison out.


User currently offlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8544 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 10031 times:



Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 9):
I suspect that you'll spend billions buying a VH-92

Why would it cost billions? I can't think of why the government would pay billions, even if the manufacturer were to ask.

Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 9):

The base AW101 Merlin is a great helicopter - especially for the VIP role -

Excellent, it's a slam dunk then.

The Boeing C-40 is a 737 rated to fly the President. It wasn't nearly this much hassle. "But, but.." yeah yeah. This should be done already.


User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12563 posts, RR: 25
Reply 12, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 9978 times:



Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 9):
The S-92's cabin is too small,

And the thread-starter article says, quoting a Navy man:

Quote:
Although some have suggested that the AW101’s larger cabin was one of the deciding factors in the Navy’s choosing it over the S-92 in 2005, statements made at that time by John Young, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, counter this assertion. “The S-92 offers a cabin that’s pretty comparable in size to today’s VH-3D,” Young said. “The 101 [has] a larger cabin, so it offers a little more flexibility. That was something we considered. But both cabins met the requirements, so that wasn’t a discriminating factor.”

Yes, I know, gotta be a self-serving statement.

Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 9):

Well well. A Sikorsky man claiming that there was no requirements creep. What a surprise. I wonder what possible motive he'd have for running down the VH-71 and making it look bad..........

Actually a Sikorsky man and a US Navy man (indirectly) as well.

And I did post the point of view of the loyal opposition as well.

As I said, lots of finger pointing going around.

I find it most interesting that Chief of Staff Andrew Card is called out as the main pot stirrer.

I can imagine such a powerful man could make a lot of people jump, and apparently he did.



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineJackonicko From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2008, 472 posts, RR: 11
Reply 13, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 9877 times:

Par13del,

Having flown in both Merlin and S-92 (cockpit and cabin) I can tell you that the difference in cabin size between the two is significant. And they are looking to squeeze much more into the new VXX than they do in the VH-3.

In this case, size really is important! They’re even putting a taller door in the Merlin, so that a tall president won’t need to stoop.

But AW101 vs S-92 should not be reduced to a crude comparison of size. For the Presidential role, the S-92 needs a new main rotor with a fifth blade to reduce noise, and it needs major mods to reduce vibration.

The S-92 will NEVER have the inherent safety that a triple-engined aircraft has.

The AW101 has a long and distinguished record as a military helicopter, which gives a degree of confidence that the S-92 won’t have for decades.

If it were me, I’d buy 25 Merlins (to the Saudi VIP standard) and fit whatever specialist comms kit that’s already on the VH-3/60. That would be a cheap, quick solution, and would give POTUS the best VIP helicopter in service anywhere. Not as good as a full-up VH-71, perhaps, but more than good enough.


Flighty,

[QUOTE]"Why would it cost billions?”[/QUOTE}
Because the whole bloated Navair process loads massive cost onto any programme. If it’s a massive programme, then it’s spreaqd over large numbers of aircraft and the addition to the unit cost is negligible, but if it’s a small programme, you get huge unit prices. The US does not have a cost-effective procurement process.

AIN’s estimate is entirely in line with what everyone involved in VXX is saying about the likely cost of a rebid – including sources at Sikorsky. The USN itself has estimated that a new VXX program would cost between $10 and $17 billion in addition what has already been spent, excluding cancellation costs and penalties, while WBB Consulting estimated $13.3-$15.5 billion for a new acquisition programme starting straight away (FY2010/2011) and $13.4-$15.6 billion for a programme starting in FY2012/2013.


Revelation,

With the newly specified equipment required for VXX (including the infamous second safe – the VH-3 doesn’t have one!) the S-92’s cabin is too small, and Navair sources suggest that a VXX compliant S-92 would now need a cabin stretch.


The big problem for VH-71 is that this argument has gone beyond a technical or financial one, and has become a token of Government waste, and an ‘issue’ that Obama is using to demonstrate his personal frugality and ‘common sense’.

The aircraft is still technically and financially the best option. But politically, electing to continue with VH-71 would be politically damaging to Obama, and he and his supporters will thus be looking to strangle it.


User currently offlinePar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 7229 posts, RR: 8
Reply 14, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 9831 times:



Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 13):
The big problem for VH-71 is that this argument has gone beyond a technical or financial one, and has become a token of Government waste, and an ‘issue’ that Obama is using to demonstrate his personal frugality and ‘common sense’.

The aircraft is still technically and financially the best option. But politically, electing to continue with VH-71 would be politically damaging to Obama, and he and his supporters will thus be looking to strangle it

And that is why the project will probably be cancelled, nothing to do with the a/c itself and everything to do with the managers of the project, even the fact that "fans" could brag that POTUS was being flown around in the best that the EU had to offer was overcome, so the political question comes down to how much aditional funds must be spent on this project while the country is struggling with health care cost.

Funny thing in all this is probably the fact that the a/c experts - the Europeans who built the initial a/c - allowed the non-a/c experts - their American joint partners - to take the ball and run with all the additional "goalpost" items that eventually brought this project to it's knees. If the US side choose to partner with someone because they do not make their own a/c they should allow those experts more influenece in design changes and add on's etc.
Strictly my opinion, no source for my assumptions.

Cheers


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12150 posts, RR: 51
Reply 15, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 9771 times:



Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 5):
You can spend another £3.5 Bn and get a fleet of 19 top of the line helicopters, or you can throw away the £3.1 Bn already spent and pay $400 m in penalties, and $50 m in costs, and then spend more than $10 Bn to get an inferior alternative.

Why spend more to buy each helio than it did to buy each VC-25A?

Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 9):
The base AW101 Merlin is a great helicopter - especially for the VIP role - and is probably the most modern and most advanced helicopter flying today.

Realistically, it's down to a Merlin variant or an S-92 variant (the H-53 is too big and too powerful for the White House rose garden, and the H-47 is a non starter for the same reason. Eurocopter don't make anything big enough, and it won't be Chinese or Russian).

The S-92's cabin is too small, and the aircraft would need a fifth MRB and a cabin stretch to even start to compete. And militarising the aircraft for Canada has been so difficult that it makes the VH-71 programme look 'textbook'.

Nevertheless, I suspect that you'll spend billions buying a VH-92 - spending more to get less of a helicopter.

Actually, the story says the cabin in the VH-3D and S-92 are the same size. If the VH-3D's cabin works now, why won't the cabin in the S-92 work?

This is a program that has no end in site to the amount of money it will costs. Cancel it now.


User currently offlineJackonicko From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2008, 472 posts, RR: 11
Reply 16, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 9731 times:

You have a commercial offer to supply 19 Increment One VH-71 aircraft for a set figure. The end of cost increases is not only in 'site' (SiC), it's there for the taking.

Which bit of "AW101 vs S-92 should not be reduced to a crude comparison of size" do you have a problem understanding, KC?

But even of we are talking size, S-92's cabin is too small for the role as it is TODAY.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12150 posts, RR: 51
Reply 17, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 9684 times:



Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 16):
Which bit of "AW101 vs S-92 should not be reduced to a crude comparison of size" do you have a problem understanding, KC?

I don't like anu of them. I don't see any sense in sending good moeny after bad, esspiecially in this economy.

Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 16):
But even of we are talking size, S-92's cabin is too small for the role as it is TODAY.

Even Obama says the VH-3s suit him just fine. He only spends about 10-15 minutes in it anyway, how big does it need to be?


User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12563 posts, RR: 25
Reply 18, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 9613 times:

Mentioned in passing in the following article:

Quote:
Obama is on course to prevail in a battle to cease production of the ultramodern F-22 fighter jet and the VH-71 presidential helicopter, both of which are way over budget. But it took explicit veto threats to keep those out of the Senate measure.

Ref: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090929/...BvbGl0aWNzBHNsawNtY2NhaW50cmllc3Q-

Total DoD budget is $626B - WOW! That's 2/3ds of a trillion dollars!

Also mentioned is Congress is raiding $4B from the spares budget to throw in $5B of extra stuff (10 C-17s, 9 F-18s and a DDG-51 destroyer) that DoD did not ask for.

Not to mention 778 earmarks totaling an additional $2.7B.

McCain trying to get a vote to not fund the 10 C-17s but he is widely expected to lose that vote if it should happen - there's just too many votes in too many states where C-17s are made.



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8544 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 9597 times:



Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 13):

The S-92 will NEVER have the inherent safety that a triple-engined aircraft has.

You could try to say the same thing about a twinjet VIP transport. Obviously it's not very true in that case...

Also... the VH-3 is a twin engine, isn't it? Still, it doesn't negate the original statement, but it does put it in some context.

Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 13):
Because the whole bloated Navair process loads massive cost onto any programme.

Okay, but other Presidential transports (C-32, C-37) aren't all that expensive.


User currently offlineStealthZ From Australia, joined Feb 2005, 5697 posts, RR: 44
Reply 20, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 9523 times:
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Quoting Flighty (Reply 19):
Okay, but other Presidential transports (C-32, C-37) aren't all that expensive.

Perhaps the C-32, C-37 even the VC-25A were less expensive because Navair was NOT involved!

Hey don't flame me, ... just sayin'



If your camera sends text messages, that could explain why your photos are rubbish!
User currently onlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1720 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 9511 times:



Quoting Flighty (Reply 19):
Okay, but other Presidential transports (C-32, C-37) aren't all that expensive.

Because someone kept a lid on operational creep and requirement growth. That's the hallmark of good project management.


User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12563 posts, RR: 25
Reply 22, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 9467 times:



Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 21):
Because someone kept a lid on operational creep and requirement growth. That's the hallmark of good project management.

One of the more interesting points in the article in the thread starter is that VH-71 mainly sprung up in haste from the aftermath of 9/11 and was a pet project of Andrew Card, White House Chief of Staff. Something tells me this is where a lot of the outlandish requirements came from. I have a hard time seeing how Navair itself could screw things up this badly, but its easier to see how if the White House was egging them on.

In an ideal world you can cook up a list of outlandish requirements and say 'make it so'. In the real world, you need to balance your desires against what is possible. It seems that did not happen here.

From reading other articles, the request for high quality TV studio on board drove a lot of other requirements around noise level and vibration level. Add that to the weight of the equipment for the TV stuff and you can see how that alone can add a lot of weight. Multiply the costs across a fleet of 19 helicopters and it really adds up.

Seems to me a more sensible approach would be to provide high quality audio. If things are so AFU that you can't safely fly the president to a TV studio or VC-25A, then the nation should understand and deal with an audio-only feed.

Let's hope on the next spin that saner minds prevail, and that they keep cost containment in mind.

The article points out how the program really is doing two helicopters at once: Increment 1 and Increment 2, and of course that's incredibly expensive.

The reason for the Increment 2 helo was because weight and range requirements drove the need for a larger rotor, which meant a longer tail boom, which meant weight and balance issues, and so on.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that would result in a big budget problem.

Scanning the news, it seems there is little interest in getting the VH-71 funding into the final bill. There's too big a feeding frenzy on getting more C-17s, F-18s and miscellaneous earmarks into the bill.



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12150 posts, RR: 51
Reply 23, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 9451 times:



Quoting Revelation (Reply 22):
One of the more interesting points in the article in the thread starter is that VH-71 mainly sprung up in haste from the aftermath of 9/11 and was a pet project of Andrew Card, White House Chief of Staff. Something tells me this is where a lot of the outlandish requirements came from. I have a hard time seeing how Navair itself could screw things up this badly, but its easier to see how if the White House was egging them on.

While Card did write some requirements, NavAir and the Secret Service wrote most of them, then kept adding crap that was not needed, like a shower and full bathroom, all for a 10-15 minute flight.


User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12563 posts, RR: 25
Reply 24, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 9435 times:

I have visited a few web sites and have not gotten a good read on what features are or or not on the VH-71, so I can't confirm or deny there's a shower aboard.

What I did find at http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/vh-71.htm was that increment 2 was requiring a new main gear box, drive train, engines, tail unit and main rotor blades. The rotor disc was being increased in size from 45 feet to 64 feet. A new auxiliary power unit and rotor track and balance technology was originally in increment 2, but they were later allowed to defer them. The program identified maturity concerns in the areas of the advanced blade design, voice-over Internet protocol security, and the automatic flight computer system.

In reading the whole article, one certainly can see where the concerns about the program arose from. It's not to say the program was unachievable, but there certainly were many concerns about how long it would take and how much it would cost.



Inspiration, move me brightly!
25 AirRyan : It actually has very fiscally plausible and universally agreed upon avenues of completion, a.k.a. complete the Increment 1 buy for starters. But that
26 Par13del : Buying a totally new helicopter and before you get the first one designed, tested and built you are at the same time designing the second increment,
27 Post contains links Revelation : Looks like VH-71 funding will not be in the Senate bill heading towards conference: Senate panel follows Obama plan to cut VH-71 program Will be inter
28 Flighty : I don't know what is so hard for you. I am not saying our DoD should be closed down or anything. I happen to like the B2 and the F-22. They will help
29 Post contains links Revelation : Stolen from the F-135 thread: http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSTRE5955QC20091006 VH-71 seems to be disappearing without a trace... Wedn
30 Post contains links AirRyan : Hopefully this will help expose the ridiculousness of canceling the program... http://www.wbng.com/news/local/63675452.html
31 Sasd209 : Well, the source is: WBNG, Binghamton, NY; just down the road from Owego. I'm not sure I'd rely on the 'hometown' news service to provide the most unb
32 Par13del : Since the Pentagon is the one who originally came up with this replacement timeframe, organized the competition, selected a winner, organized the mas
33 ThePointblank : Problem is that the VH-71 isn't an off the shelf product, it was a developmental product. And with developmental products, the risk for cost growth i
34 Par13del : Well it started off as an off the shelf project, a new build a/c was never in the RFP, hence the two main a/c offered was the S92 and the EH101.
35 AirRyan : But that is just it - the argument has long since departed from the facts and instead has just resorted to bloviated politics. Now there is a new cha
36 Post contains links DEVILFISH : Spearheaded by.... Hinchey: Internal Pentagon Documents Show Plans for Replacement Presidential Helicopter Project Would Yield Nearly Identical Aircr
37 Post contains links Revelation : Going... going... gone... http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091009/ap_on_go_co/us_congress_weapons_6
38 Post contains links AirRyan : Oh the Fat Lady hasn't sung just yet... The House and Senate still have to meet to hash out the differences between their two respective bills. See,
39 Post contains links Lumberton : The curtain call has may just been announced.... http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=4318817&c=AIR&s=TOP
40 Jackonicko : He needs to be asked one question. Does any of the options he's considering cost as little as $3.3 Bn, while also delivering a capability as good as t
41 AirRyan : But that is just that - the Pentagon has been playing politics here as well as if LM urinated in their cheerios; the numbers are readily obvious but
42 Revelation : Bear with me, Jacko, here's the tail of the article: So it seems he's talking about something quite different. $8B for 23 sounds low for Inc 2 birds,
43 Post contains links Lumberton : Gates throws down the gauntlet. http://www.dodbuzz.com/2009/10/15/gates-throws-down-vh-71-veto-threat/
44 Revelation : Yeah, but as of right now the bill doesn't have any funding for VH-71 as far as I can tell. Maybe Gates is trying to fend off a very last second attem
45 AirRyan : Ah, but to the contrary - the House DOD budget bill does have the money in there while the Senate DOD budget bill does not; it's being reconciled as
46 Flighty : I tend to think you're right in a way -- it's not really about saving money in the short term. It's about the threat posed to American security posed
47 Post contains links Revelation : The following article seems to say the money is out of the House version too: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/con...-sales-2009-10-12?siteid=rss&rss
48 Post contains links AirRyan : " target=_blank>http://www.marketwatch.com/story/con...rss=1 I'm not sure what the article is citing because the House passed their version at the en
49 Jackonicko : Revelation, Morrell's talking bol.locks. AgustaWestland have offered a 19 aircraft fleet, all Increment One, for another $3.5 Bn.
50 Post contains links AirRyan : Well it looks like the House succumbed to the Senate on the VH-71, but at least they got the F-35 alternative engine in there; how can anyone argue th
51 Post contains links TropicBird : It's still alive but just barely in the appropriations conference. Excerpt..... Meanwhile, Murtha said there still has been no decision by House and S
52 Post contains links AirRyan : This is truly ignorant - it's going to cost at least $2B just to perform a service life exentions on the current Presidentlal helicopter fleet so that
53 Post contains links Revelation : It'd be interesting to see a Congressional hearing where all the players were put into one room and all the assertions heard and hopefully rectified.
54 AirRyan : But that again is begs the question as to just what exactly does the Pentagon hope to obtain here? The H-71 platform is still the largest, most capab
55 Revelation : I too have a hard time figuring out what is going on. The statements above keep saying that building out VH-71s would not meet the requirements. So,
56 Lumberton : VH-71 is dead. There is no hope that a majority in either chamber will put political capital on the line to resurrect this program.
57 AirRyan : But the biggest proponents have been Democrats, supported by Schumer at least in a media interview, and championed by John Murtha who quite frankly,
58 Revelation : I have a hard time seeing how any Congress will approve $13B for a presidential helicopter, especially now that it's a such a political hot potato. H
59 Sasd209 : Agreed. I know some here are advancing 'conspiracy theories', and who knows, there *may* be some behind the scenes issues we know nothing about. The
60 Post contains images AirRyan : Ever hear of the V-22 or even the F-22 for that matter? And just wait for the Joint Suck Fighter before it's all said and done. Two wrongs don't make
61 Post contains links CTR : The Osprey has a usable cabin volume of 739 cu ft. http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...systems/aircraft/v-22-payload.htm# The UH-60 has a usale ca
62 Sasd209 : Indeed I have....I'm not catching your comparison. Apparently you're comparing programs with hundreds of aircraft produced and long development times
63 ThePointblank : The EH-101 was designed as a Sea King replacement for the Italian and British by two companies that license produced the Sea King; Westland and Agust
64 AirRyan : It's usable but not preferable; the S-92 would likely get the nod over the V-22 just because of the extra room. I was more so getting to the point th
65 Ctr : I agree with your later statement that thr VH-71 or S-92 would offer more room than the V-22. But your earlier claim was that the H-60N had approxima
66 Post contains links AirRyan : My bad, I didn't word my statement well enough. Okay, so here's the latest - the decision to fund is still yet to be made, and if key Dems like Chuck
67 Par13del : Questionm has the VH-60 ever landed on the White House lawn? It is the cheapest solution, no need to SLEP an a/c which is still in productions, dump t
68 Post contains links Sasd209 : Indeed it has: http://images.google.com/imgres?imgu...ial%26sa%3DN%26start%3D20%26um%3D1
69 ThePointblank : There is still is a need to SLEP the VH-60's, as they need new avionics and mission systems. Also, there is a matter of service life, and the VH-60's
70 Flighty : For a really good setup, they may have to raze the White House entirely, so the best possible helicopter battle group can land there.
71 Post contains images ThePointblank : They can call in the Canadians and the Brits to do that for you, just like in 1814  [Edited 2009-11-01 18:24:18]
72 Sasd209 : Source(s)?
73 Post contains links ThePointblank : The VH-60N's has an original service life expectancy of 7,500 flight hours (the "fleet" standard service life) based on its original design and evalu
74 Sasd209 : If you're going to make a comparison, what is the life of the VH-3D compared to the VH-60N? You've stated the 7500 hr figure, do you have a correspond
75 ThePointblank : Service life for the VH-3D, if you dig into that document, is 14,000 hours.
76 Par13del : That is the point of my last post, the military needs Blackhawks, and they are also moving to the UH-60M's, its one of the reasons why the Lakota is
77 Post contains images UH60FtRucker : How many people in this forum have flown on a V-22?? They're not nearly as big as a lot of people seem to think. Just an example:
78 Sasd209 : Ahhh, got it, thanks!
79 Spudh : I know this is a bit simplistic but if you're going to suggest buying UH-60M's as a capable off the shelf helo and make the mission fit the craft, wha
80 Par13del : Well, that's what they did and the project managers screwed up the whole process to the tune of billions of dollars on increment one and a few more o
81 ThePointblank : Ah, but the VH-60's have also seen very heavy flight hours on them due to training and operational demands, so that's a non-starter. We do have 6 VH-
82 Post contains links DEVILFISH : Here's a nice option for replacing the smaller helos..... http://www.defense-aerospace.com/art...ky-delivers-s_76-to-uk-royals.html Sikorsky Aircraft
83 Post contains links AirRyan : If this isn't yet another glowing example for the need of term limits I don't know what is. Murtha, a former US Marine Colonel who began his career en
84 Curt22 : Good example...and I HATE that they decided to put the battery on the ceiling, the bright pink box seen at the photo... Yes, it's a rather small cabi
85 AirRyan : Especially for the avionic tech who has to service/replace the damned thing! The MV-22 flight deck is sweet, "it'll get 'er done" if you know what I
86 Post contains links TropicBird : The latest...over $100 million added to defense spending bill for VH-71. http://thehill.com/homenews/administ...ct-presidential-helicopter-project
87 Flighty : Could be. I would expect this to go a lot like the C-32 program. (what they mean by "new procurement strategy.") It will come off the shelf recogniza
88 Revelation : Yep, I hope so. No need for toilets, kitchens, TV studios, super-duper range, etc. Why we're looking much beyond the VH-60N is beyond me. Call up Sik
89 AirRyan : From what AW's CEO has previously said about finishing VH-71A's in Increment 1, I don't think even new-build VH-60's could beat the cost of just fini
90 Jackonicko : Cogent, clear, and logical. It will never happen.
91 Par13del : Not to nitpick but you are talking about finishing without the "billions" already spent versus purchasing some UH-60M's or even some Bell Jetrangers
92 AirRyan : Come now Jacky, I thought you liked the EH-101 from what I remember? You're not still grumbling over the F-35B and the QE CVF, are you? And how about
93 Revelation : By who, the former VH-71 team? Clearly the current folks aren't talking that way: You do realize that the VH-71 is still being terminated, right? It
94 Jackonicko : I love the AW101. It's the best helicopter in its class. It's second only to the Chinook, which it beats as a CSAR or VIP platform. The US DoD should,
95 Par13del : By whom, the folks who allowed this project to run off the tracks, there are some serious credibility issues there. My problem with the whole procure
96 AirRyan : The answer is two-fold. Of course things can change at anytime, but after 9/11 it was made abundantly clear that the POTUS needed a lot more than wha
97 Post contains links Lumberton : Speaking of which.... Britain orders 22 Chinook military helicopters
98 Par13del : I will agree that 9/11 has been used as justification for many things, some have since been removed with no replacements, but that would run this thr
99 Revelation : That's a pretty optimistic rendering. VXX will be rebid in the spring and surely a VH-71A Inc 1+ will be the favored entry - how could it not be, giv
100 Post contains links AirRyan : In terms of associated costs per flight hour greatly attributed to it's lower maintenance costs, it's no joke. Very few H-3 parts available over the
101 Par13del : Not really true, but if that's what they choose to say then fine, I could see some simple questions at a congressional hearing that would give them p
102 Post contains links Revelation : Even you must admit you can get lot of H-3 parts for $13B even if you have to make them by hand. The Hill quotes Carter as saying: So, maybe VH-71 In
103 Sasd209 : Do you have a source for this?
104 AirRyan : No, you're right - that was the original language out of the House bill, in which they were to appropriate $435m; some of the different articles bega
105 Revelation : I'm so glad we've come to agreement! I think the money that was allocated will prevent a lot of the key people from scattering, and that the payments
106 ThePointblank : We are struggling to keep our CH-124 Sea King's airborne and ours are among the more modern version as they have been upgraded extensively. It's not
107 Par13del : Agree but not at the same time, so since a new a/c is being bought, use the VH-60's until the replacement comes online then dump them. Playing with n
108 AirRyan : The VH-3D/60N's had a survivability upgrade in FY05 that consisted of adding TCAS for the VH-3D, updates for both aircraft's simulators, a VH-60N main
109 Post contains links Revelation : Two different spins: Ref: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aXweGzTkFKyo&pos=8 Ref: http://www.morning-times.com/article...news/doc4
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