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Navy Moves Ahead To Replace Pres Helicopters  
User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12345 posts, RR: 25
Posted (1 year 2 months 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 6144 times:

Navy Moves Ahead To Replace Presidential Helicopters says, in part:

Quote:

On Friday, the Navy issued a draft request for proposals that maps out its plan to buy 25 new helicopters, giving companies until Dec. 5 to respond. It also invited bidders to an unclassified conference to be held the week of Dec. 10, when government officials will answer questions about the proposed terms of the competition.

This time, Lockheed Martin is paired with Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of United Technologies Corp, offering Sikorsky’s S-92 helicopter.

Lockheed’s partner on the previous program, Finmeccanica SpA unit AgustaWestland, has teamed up with Northrop Grumman Corp, to submit a possible bid based on AgustaWestland 101 helicopter.

Boeing Co said it is also studying a possible bid based on its H-47 Chinook helicopter or the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft that it builds with Textron Inc’s Bell Helicopter unit.

Interesting how LM must know every iota about what AW is up to, yet bailed out on them and are now in bed with Sikorsky. Also last time NG was a partner on Sikorsky's proposal.

Quote:

In the draft request, which was posted to a federal procurement website on Nov. 23, the Navy said its acquisition plan aimed to integrate mature communications equipment into an existing aircraft. It said it expected to issue a final draft request for proposals in March 2013 and award an initial engineering and design contract by mid-2014.

“We’re pursuing a technically viable and cost-effective aircraft to replace the current presidential helicopters,” said Navy spokeswoman Kelly Burdick. “No PowerPoint planes.”

Captain Cate Mueller, another Navy spokeswoman, said the Navy planned to award a fixed-price contract with an incentive fee for the development program, moving to fixed-price terms for low rate initial production and full production.

She said the new program was structured to emphasize “affordability, cost control and risk reduction in balance with system performance,” before any major contracts are awarded.

As opposed to non affordability, lack of cost control and risk acceptance?

Point being we all start off with such goals, but how can you expect LM to deliver such, given the disasters of VH-71 and F-35?

The "No PowerPoint" rule means we should see derivatives of existing aircraft, so chances are good it'll be the same core airframes as last time. Boeing tried to offer the Chinook last time, but it was deemed too loud and big for the job, and I imagine an Osprey would have similar challenges.


Inspiration, move me brightly!
31 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29791 posts, RR: 58
Reply 1, posted (1 year 2 months 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 6092 times:

It hasn't been the airframe that is the problem in the last couple of tries at this. It is all the extra electronic crap they want to stuff in the airframe.


OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12345 posts, RR: 25
Reply 2, posted (1 year 2 months 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 5999 times:

Quoting L-188 (Reply 1):
It hasn't been the airframe that is the problem in the last couple of tries at this. It is all the extra electronic crap they want to stuff in the airframe.

Well it was also said the new fleet was to have amenities such as on-board kitchens and even showers!

It's a helicopter, for god sakes. Take your bath before you get on board, and eat a bag lunch, dammit!

It's interesting to read Wiki's summation of the VH-71 issues:

Quote:

During dialogue over the CSAR-X (in which the EH101 was LMSI's offering), the Air Force Source Selection Authority (SSA) had stated the VH-71's program's performance had been "unsatisfactory". In March 2007, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, upholding Sikorsky and Lockheed's protests against Boeing's HH-47, mentioned "LMSI had received a little confidence rating for past performance due to unsatisfactory performance under its current contract for the VH-71 Presidential helicopter, which was evaluated as the most highly relevant to this procurement." The SSA stated that LMSI had "show[n] that it could not reliably meet important schedule requirements and had difficulty in systems engineering flow-downs to their subcontractors."[14] Lockheed responded that government insistence on extensive modifications, not anticipated in the RFP, as the source of the cost overruns.[15] A later GAO report in 2011 concluded that development of the VH-71 was not allowed flexibility or trade-offs considered by the customer.[16]

It seems to be the usual situation of the government saying the contractors can't manage programs whereas the contractors saying government modifications cause the management problems.

How come we can't get past this?

It keeps happening time and time again, with the end result of the taxpayers getting screwed. In the case of F-35 it is us paying a lot more for the new airframes themselves as well as maintenance of the old airframes needed because F-35 is so damn late, and in the case it's us having to eat the cost of the VH-71 because the program went "open loop".

Why can't we have a firm set of specifications, schedules and budgets as a part of the bid? After that, no changes by either side. We're talking about a VIP helicopter, not room temperature superconductivity or nuclear fusion power plants.



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1680 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (1 year 2 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 5972 times:

Quoting Revelation (Reply 2):
Why can't we have a firm set of specifications, schedules and budgets as a part of the bid?

It really depends. Sometimes, things are very clear cut; I need a product that can do A, B, C and D, full stop. This makes sense for pure, off the shelf purchases for things that already exist.

There are exceptions to this rule, and that occurs when events happen outside anyone's control; e.g. price of a raw material or labour skyrockets, unanticipated delays, a subcontractor going bust, etc.

The problem is with developmental projects, and that's where sometimes specifications can change along the way. For example, one can go in with specifications that say I need A, B, C, and D, and along the way, it is realized that to make the product effective in its intended role, we need to drop B, and add in capabilities E and F.


User currently offlineMax Q From United States of America, joined May 2001, 4378 posts, RR: 19
Reply 4, posted (1 year 2 months 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 5911 times:

Why are TWENTY FIVE helicopters needed ?!


The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
User currently offlineBigJKU From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 875 posts, RR: 11
Reply 5, posted (1 year 2 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 5892 times:

Quoting Max Q (Reply 4):
Why are TWENTY FIVE helicopters needed ?!

I think they also use them to carry around a bunch of other people, not just the president.


User currently offlinePC12Fan From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2424 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (1 year 2 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 5874 times:

Quoting Revelation (Reply 2):
We're talking about a VIP helicopter, not room temperature superconductivity or nuclear fusion power plants.

And given interior photos I saw recently that were allegedly taken not too long ago, the interior is rather bland. They shouldn't need a ton of anything additional on the new platforms. I can see many upgrades, but with electronics progressively reducing in size this shouldn't be such a big deal.

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 5):
Why are TWENTY FIVE helicopters needed ?!

I think they also use them to carry around a bunch of other people, not just the president.

They also have extra on hand when ever the POTUS travels. Some at home, some at the destination, etc.

IMO, I think the S-92 has the advantage.



Just when I think you've said the stupidest thing ever, you keep talkin'!
User currently offlinezanl188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3504 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 2 months 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 5866 times:
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They also shuffle the helos on the multiple stop trips. Gives the maintainers a chance to unfold, flight test, fly mission, refold, and repeat. Otherwise they'd never be able to keep up, requires more airframes unfortunately.

Ex: helos 1 & 2 will handle stops A & C. Helos 3 & 4 take stops B & D. Add in some spares, helos to support ops in DC, frames in depot & base level MX and it adds up quickly.



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User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1680 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (1 year 2 months 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 5773 times:

Quoting PC12Fan (Reply 6):
IMO, I think the S-92 has the advantage.

I would argue that the AW101 would have the advantage, if they ordered a plain, non-heavily customized version. Sikorsky isn't living up to anyone's expectations with the CH-148 contract, as they are years behind schedule, aircraft is not meeting critical specifications and considerably overbudget.

As long as they don't gold plate the specifications and add in everything they can think of in the program, and most importantly, don't modify the specifications after they come out, we should do fine.


User currently offlinescbriml From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 12394 posts, RR: 46
Reply 9, posted (1 year 2 months 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 5679 times:
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Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 8):
I would argue that the AW101 would have the advantage

It's a very fine helicopter and was selected last time. I don't see why it wouldn't be selected again.



Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana!
User currently offlinePC12Fan From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2424 posts, RR: 5
Reply 10, posted (1 year 2 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 5541 times:

Quoting scbriml (Reply 9):
It's a very fine helicopter and was selected last time. I don't see why it wouldn't be selected again.

It is indeed a fine aircraft. It's on my mega million lottery list.  

Dumb question though - wasn't / isn't there an issue with the AW101 being to big to transport around? Only C-5's could do the job?



Just when I think you've said the stupidest thing ever, you keep talkin'!
User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12345 posts, RR: 25
Reply 11, posted (1 year 2 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 5529 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 8):
I would argue that the AW101 would have the advantage, if they ordered a plain, non-heavily customized version. Sikorsky isn't living up to anyone's expectations with the CH-148 contract, as they are years behind schedule, aircraft is not meeting critical specifications and considerably overbudget.

And personally I'd not be so anxious to be doing business again with LM, given how they have performed with VH-71, F-35 and F-22. They seem hell bent on gold plating everything and delivering programs with massive overruns.



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1680 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (1 year 2 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 5377 times:

Quoting Revelation (Reply 11):
They seem hell bent on gold plating everything and delivering programs with massive overruns.

The government is actually the one responsible for the gold plating specs. They are the ones that develop the specifications, and sometimes, changes them.


User currently offlinetrident3 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 1013 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (1 year 2 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 5243 times:

Quoting PC12Fan (Reply 10):
Dumb question though - wasn't / isn't there an issue with the AW101 being to big to transport around? Only C-5's could do the job?

RAF Merlins are transported to Afghanistan by C17
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16200976



"We are the warrior race-Tough men in the toughest sport." Brian Noble, Head Coach, Great Britain Rugby League.
User currently offlinePC12Fan From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2424 posts, RR: 5
Reply 14, posted (1 year 2 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 5140 times:

Quoting trident3 (Reply 13):

Interesting, thanks for sharing that.

However, I don't believe this is as good an option as a smaller aircraft would be more "ready to fly" right off the transport. But I'm armchair quarter backing here. I don't know the logistics of transporting helicopters around outside of what I've seen when the Blackhawks used for presidential transport are relocated.



Just when I think you've said the stupidest thing ever, you keep talkin'!
User currently offlinesphealey From United States of America, joined May 2005, 377 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (1 year 2 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 5133 times:

Quoting Revelation (Reply 2):
It seems to be the usual situation of the government saying the contractors can't manage programs whereas the contractors saying government modifications cause the management problems.

How come we can't get past this?

The same way Kelly Johnson did it, and the way most private entities (non-public corporations & other types of entities) do it: by having one deeply knowledgeable, deeply capable person in ultimate charge of the project with the absolute authority to make final decisions and to say "no" to involved parties. In the case of this helicopter, a person who can sit down for a meeting the the President, the head of the Secret Service, and the relevant Marine Corps general and say "you can have X or Y. You can't have both. Z, however, is off the table".

Of course Johnson only managed to do that in an era where there was far less oversight and contracting entities were willing to take more risk with initial sums (and willing to trust their own oversight agent to be part of the team and not report back every 15 minutes). It was also before certain structural changes in the concept of project management that have, in retrospect, not been for the best. I certainly understand where procurement reform came from; there were some egregious abuses of US government contracts in the 70s and 80s. But you just can't have a program like this work - or physically even fly - when there are so many people who perceive their behinds will be on the line if a certain piece of equipment isn't included and no one with the power to speak a final "no".

sPh


User currently offlineUSAF336TFS From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 1445 posts, RR: 52
Reply 16, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 4346 times:

Quoting PC12Fan (Reply 6):

IMO, I think the S-92 has the advantage

I agree with you, especially considering that Lockheed is all to familiar with the AW-101's weaknesses.
This one is going to the S-92.



336th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB
User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1680 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 4178 times:

Quoting USAF336TFS (Reply 16):
I agree with you, especially considering that Lockheed is all to familiar with the AW-101's weaknesses.
This one is going to the S-92.

Good luck to Lockheed Martin then. They should have a look at Canada's saga with the CH-148. Missed every single milestone so far with delays, cost overruns, and design issues, and that's just with the helicopter itself, not the mission systems.


User currently offlineconnies4ever From Canada, joined Feb 2006, 4066 posts, RR: 13
Reply 18, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 4137 times:

Quoting Revelation (Thread starter):
Point being we all start off with such goals, but how can you expect LM to deliver such, given the disasters of VH-71 and F-35?
Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 17):
Good luck to Lockheed Martin then. They should have a look at Canada's saga with the CH-148. Missed every single milestone so far with delays, cost overruns, and design issues, and that's just with the helicopter itself, not the mission systems.

I can even now foresee LM's marketing campaign for this (most likely) very lucrative contract:

"From those wonderful people who brought you the F-35".



Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
User currently offlinescbriml From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 12394 posts, RR: 46
Reply 19, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 4038 times:
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Quoting USAF336TFS (Reply 16):
considering that Lockheed is all to familiar with the AW-101's weaknesses

Which weaknesses would those be?



Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana!
User currently offlineUSAF336TFS From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 1445 posts, RR: 52
Reply 20, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 3995 times:

Quoting scbriml (Reply 19):
Which weaknesses would those be?

Oh yes I'm sorry... It's a European design... It isn't possible to have weaknesses. Only American aircraft have flaws.      


I'm reminded of the rotor cracking issues that the UK, Canada and Denmark have experienced, as one example.
Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 17):
Good luck to Lockheed Martin then. They should have a look at Canada's saga with the CH-148. Missed every single milestone so far with delays, cost overruns, and design issues, and that's just with the helicopter itself, not the mission systems.

They did have problems with their EH-101 as well, no?

I personally believe both designs are excellent... And both have had... And will have, teething problems.

[Edited 2013-06-06 08:42:31]


336th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB
User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1680 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 3907 times:

Quoting USAF336TFS (Reply 20):
They did have problems with their EH-101 as well, no?

I personally believe both designs are excellent... And both have had... And will have, teething problems.

Yeah, early service issues, but it was undeniable that the aircraft was better than what it replaced. We haven't even gotten our CH-148's yet (there are a few sitting at CFB Shearwater in hangars, but they are still the property of Sikorsky), and there's a list of major showstopper technical faults a mile long, most of which revolve around flightworthiness. And we haven't even gotten around to testing the mission systems yet (radar, dipping sonar, weapons), not to mention the aircraft is not meeting a number of key performance specs of the original contract and for these and other reasons, cannot be certified as being airworthy for anything more than daytime, fair weather, over land operations at best.... in other words, unsuitable both for flight training and the operational roles for which it was acquired.

Worst procurement in the history of the Canadian Forces... and that's what the Defence Minister is saying. The original schedule called for delivery to be complete in 2011. It's mid-2013 and we haven't even gotten the first aircraft yet or begun ship compatibility testing.


User currently offlinescbriml From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 12394 posts, RR: 46
Reply 22, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 3886 times:
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Quoting USAF336TFS (Reply 20):
Oh yes I'm sorry... It's a European design... It isn't possible to have weaknesses. Only American aircraft have flaws.

I asked a serious question and you resort to a snide remark? Nice.

Quoting USAF336TFS (Reply 20):
I'm reminded of the rotor cracking issues that the UK, Canada and Denmark have experienced, as one example.

Fixed a considerable time ago with a new Articulated Tail Rotor with elastometric bearings.



Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana!
User currently offlineUSAF336TFS From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 1445 posts, RR: 52
Reply 23, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 3805 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 17):
Good luck to Lockheed Martin then. They should have a look at Canada's saga with the CH-148. Missed every single milestone so far with delays, cost overruns, and design issues, and that's just with the helicopter itself, not the mission systems.
Quoting scbriml (Reply 22):
I asked a serious question and you resort to a snide remark? Nice.

Your question was responded to. There was no intention to be "snide". The question you posed itself sounded that way.

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 21):
Yeah, early service issues, but it was undeniable that the aircraft was better than what it replaced. We haven't even gotten our CH-148's yet (there are a few sitting at CFB Shearwater in hangars, but they are still the property of Sikorsky), and there's a list of major showstopper technical faults a mile long, most of which revolve around flightworthiness. And we haven't even gotten around to testing the mission systems yet (radar, dipping sonar, weapons), not to mention the aircraft is not meeting a number of key performance specs of the original contract and for these and other reasons, cannot be certified as being airworthy for anything more than daytime, fair weather, over land operations at best.... in other words, unsuitable both for flight training and the operational roles for which it was acquired.

Worst procurement in the history of the Canadian Forces... and that's what the Defence Minister is saying. The original schedule called for delivery to be complete in 2011. It's mid-2013 and we haven't even gotten the first aircraft yet or begun ship compatibility testing.

They will get there. Many have questioned whether the timelines was too aggressive in the first place. For the Defense minister to say that is a bit over-the-top IMHO, but he's probably putting well deserved pressure on Sikorsky.

The S-92s have been preforming very well in commercial service and my guess is that the Canadian CH-148s are having more trouble with the mission systems, not the basic airframes. Could be wrong about that, but it seems you might know more about that.



336th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB
User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1680 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3771 times:

Quoting USAF336TFS (Reply 23):
The S-92s have been preforming very well in commercial service and my guess is that the Canadian CH-148s are having more trouble with the mission systems, not the basic airframes. Could be wrong about that, but it seems you might know more about that.

It's the basic airframe causing all of the problems. The mission system is mostly C/MOTS, and we haven't gotten to the part regarding integration with airframe yet. I believe that the CH-148 for the most part has a nearly an identical mission equipment fit to MH-60R with the exception of an additional crew member and without the Hellfire capability. There are a few integration matters to be resolved, but except for one of them potentially, none can be classified as show stoppers. The main mission system matters is software-related and those troubles are invariably curable over time.

There is a ton of differences between the S-92 and the H-92 (which is what Sikorsky is going to be joint bidding with LM).

The biggest change (and the one causing a TON of headaches) is the new FBW control system on the H-92. Sikorsky offered the H-92 as the "base airframe" and this included a digital fly-by-wire flight control system, while the original civilian S-92 'Helibus' had a conventional hydromechanical (pilot flight control levers physically connected to hydraulic actuators) flight control system. Procedural "work-arounds" may end up being the only way to deal with some of the issues, but there are still matters of robustness and lack of maturity that remain basic safety concerns.

The second biggest issue is the MGB and the engines; due to the added mission systems onboard and the certification requirements, the CH-148 needs a strengthened gearbox, and secondly, a whole new variant of the GE CT7 engine to power the CH-148. The current engines in the CH-148 are interim engines (CT7-8A) and are meant to be swapped out for the more powerful variant later on (GE's CT7-8A7, which have changes to the fuel manifold and fuel nozzles, as well as to nozzles leading into the turbine). They also switched from a 4-blade rotor to a new 5-blade one as well to handle the increased weight. FYI, there is no guarantee that the engines and MGB under development will meet the original requirement.

The third biggest problem is that airframe vibration and flutter grossly exceed the contract standard... there is no easy fix for this. This will take a while to fix because the vibration and flutter issues cannot be diagnosed because the changes to the CH-148 are so significant, and the aircraft right now are interim standard, without the redesigned MGB and engines. There are significant changes in the flight envelope of the CH-148 compared to the S-92 (e.g. the H-92 has a fuselage plug which makes the H-92's cabin longer than the S-92, and the fuel sponsons were modified to make them ballistically tolerant, which means different amount of fuel), which in effect, means that the H-92 is an all new aircraft.

There are also ship compatibility issues that have been rumoured... something about unresolved landing gear and blade fold concerns.

It is widely assessed that Sikorsky vastly underestimated the challenges of designing, developing, engineering and producing essentially a new (although visually similar) helicopter within the required timeframe. The funny thing was that Agusta-Westland, at the time of the CH-148 contract award to Sikorsky, sued the Canadian government saying that there was no chance that Sikorsky would be able to remotely fulfill the contract on time (the suit was later dropped, with no reasons given). Turns out they were dead right.

It will be years until the issues surrounding basic airworthiness are resolved; if LM and Sikorsky are bidding the H-92, the Navy should be wary of the issues surrounding the H-92.


25 PC12Fan : Great explanation sir. My question is - is the current platform so much different from the "off the shelf model" when it was acquired? I mean, why no
26 BigJKU : I always wondered why Canada was bothering procuring a unique solution in this case. There were plenty of good off the shelf options. Canadian milita
27 connies4ever : I don't often agree with you but on this 100%. In fact, I would say casting back to the Mulroney era, the original decision to go with an 'all-101' f
28 ThePointblank : The problem was that the competition was for an off-the-shelf aircraft, but Sikorsky bidded (and we accepted) a paper airplane. The problem was the S
29 Revelation : A good summary of why helicopters are such challenges to design. Things that would seem to be minor changes on an airplane end up being major changes
30 PC12Fan : Understood sir, but I was referring to the Presidential helicopter. I should have been more specific. My apologies.
31 Revelation : Actually you did say the Presidential helo, but somehow I skipped over that, so my apologies. Maybe I did because it seems the CH-148 and VH-71 seem
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