AirRyan
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House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Thu Jul 23, 2009 10:20 pm

I have a strong feeling that it passes and does not wind up with the F-22.

Quote:

The effort to restoring funding for Lockheed Martin's VH-71 Helicopter passes another vote.

The House Appropriations Committee approved adding $485 million into the defense bill.

It will now go to the full floor for a vote next week.

Congressman Maurice Hinchey says the money would fund continued research and development of the VH-71.

http://www.wbng.com/news/local/51412937.html
 
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Fri Jul 24, 2009 1:54 am

http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?c...5b3424-f897-4fff-80b1-3461222103af says the funds would support 5 "Increment One" frames.

It also says:

From this subcommittee vote, the full House Appropriations committee would have to include the funding, and there is currently no companion bill in the senate, though Senator Charles Shumer (D-NY) has said he would work to keep the program alive on that side of the Capitol. But even if it passes both houses of congress, there is no guarantee President Obama would sign the bill. He has threatened to veto the Defense Appropriations bill over funding for the F-22 and F136 alternate engine for the F-35 JSF.

[Edited 2009-07-23 19:12:05]
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AirRyan
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:24 am

But the big difference is that the VH-71 saves taxpayers money.
 
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Fri Jul 24, 2009 2:56 pm



Quoting AirRyan (Reply 2):
But the big difference is that the VH-71 saves taxpayers money.

That's pretty optimistic.

It seems right now we have the worst of both worlds, money in the budget to refurb the old choppers and $0.5B to fund a VH-71 program with no roadmap because a certain US congressman needs to bring home the bacon to keep his job. But we also hear chirping from congressmen/women in CT where Sikorsky and its parent UTC are.

It's all such a mess.

From what I read, four Test Vehicles (TV) and five Pilot Production (PP) aircraft have already been built and delivered to LM for "completion", whatever that is, yet we know LM laid off 600 workers who presumably were a part of that effort.

No one is really saying what an Increment One helicopter can or can't do.

LM says

Quote:
Increment 1 will provide an urgent replacement for the current fleet of Marine One helicopters, and will serve as an interim solution. Increment 2 will provide a fleet of 23 aircraft with enhanced capability that meet the White House requirements for a mobile command and control platform for the office of the president.

Ref: http://www.lockheedmartin.com/products/vh-71/index.html

AW says:

Quote:
Rather than junking the Increment 1 helos, which the Pentagon says only have 5-10 years of useful life and are therefore not worth fielding, AgustaWestland argues that the rotorcraft, with some certification activities, can be validated for at least 10,000 hours of useful life, not the 1,500 specified by the Navy. The baseline AW101 aircraft is already certified for that flight time.

Moreover, with about $3.3 billion already sunk into the program, AgustaWestland argues it can deliver 19 more Increment 1 variants for another $3.5 billion.

The total would roughly equal the original VH-71 program budget before costs more than doubled as requirements grew and the program raced ahead.

The helo maker further is floating the idea of building an upgraded version, a so-called Increment 1.5, which would be close to meeting the full program requirements but below the $13 billion price tag the program has now reached.

Ref: http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/gener...spacedaily&id=news/VH71-050109.xml

It seems to me then the $0.5B would rehire 600 workers at LM to do "completion" tasks, and perhaps also the "certification" tasks needed to allow these 5 ships to be viable for more than 5-10 years?

So we end up with a small number ships that may or may not be part of the long term answer?

No one is saying what percentage of the long term answer an increment 1 helo represents, but even AW is saying an increment 1.5 program is needed to get somewhat close to the long term answer?

Seems the current plan makes more sense. Refurb the old helos till you know what you really want and what you really can afford. If at that point the LM/AW helo is the right helo for the job, then the $3.5B or so spent so far won't be wasted, otherwise it's another write off due to the fact that the GWB administration was too busy fulfilling the neo-con manifest that they had no time for pseky things like program management.
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Fri Jul 24, 2009 3:48 pm



Quoting Revelation (Reply 3):
But the big difference is that the VH-71 saves taxpayers money.

Hmmm, 5 VH-71 helios at a cost of $485M = $97M per bird. That is on top of the $13B already wasted on this program, so the real cost of 5 helios is $2.7B per helio?

For $the additional $485M, we could also buy 5 new build F-22As (current price is about $100M each). For the full VH-71 program of $13.%B (including this $485M), we could buy another 135 F-22s, or even 16 Burke class DDGs..

I say.........NO.
 
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Fri Jul 24, 2009 7:25 pm



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 4):
Quoting Revelation (Reply 3):
But the big difference is that the VH-71 saves taxpayers money.

I know you didn't mean to misquote, but it wasn't me who said that.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 4):
Hmmm, 5 VH-71 helios at a cost of $485M = $97M per bird. That is on top of the $13B already wasted on this program, so the real cost of 5 helios is $2.7B per helio?

It seems at this point in time we've only spent $3.3B and it seems we have bits and pieces of 4 test and 5 pre-production helos at LM to show for it.

Ref: http://www.dodbuzz.com/2009/06/04/us-must-salvage-vh-71-costs/

As of a year ago:

Quote:
Pentagon acquisition chief John Young further acknowledged that total program cost has grown from $6.8 billion to $11.2 billion, with Increment 1 rising from $2.3 billion to $3.7 billion and Increment 2 jumping from $4.5 billion to $7.5 billion.

Ref: VH-71%20Deal" target=_blank>http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/gener...%20Branch%20Strikes%20VH-71%20Deal

So, in round figures, given we've spent $3.3B we must have spend most of what's needed to get through Increment 1, although some may have been spent towards Increment 2 already as well. The $11.2B figure above apparently has grown to $13B, and it represents the total program cost, both Increments 1 and 2.
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Fri Jul 24, 2009 7:57 pm



Quoting Revelation (Reply 5):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 4):
Quoting Revelation (Reply 3):
But the big difference is that the VH-71 saves taxpayers money.

I know you didn't mean to misquote, but it wasn't me who said that.

Sorry about that. That happens sometimes on a.net when you press the "selected text quoted" button.

The current proposal of $485M is for 5 increment #1 helios. There were only 27 helios total in the program. If we go ahead and buy the 5 helios, someone will then want to buy the remaining 22. At the price of these things, and having no real military value (all 27 are for POTUS transport), I think it is best we cut our losses on this thing and not waste any more military dollars on something that will never benefit the military forces.

We can buy the things our forces need for that $485M, even if it is only eggs for the chow hall.
 
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Fri Jul 24, 2009 8:17 pm



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 6):
The current proposal of $485M is for 5 increment #1 helios. There were only 27 helios total in the program. If we go ahead and buy the 5 helios, someone will then want to buy the remaining 22. At the price of these things, and having no real military value (all 27 are for POTUS transport), I think it is best we cut our losses on this thing and not waste any more military dollars on something that will never benefit the military forces.

I agree with the thrust of the point, but the numbers may not be right.

We've spend $3.3B and it seems we need another $0.5B to get the 5 Increment 1 helos up to some standard of usability, presumably qualifying them for the longer lifespan.

If you do the math right then and there, it's $760M/frame which is crazy.

AW wants us to spend another $3.5B to build another batch of Inc 1 helos, presumably to get to the goal of 22 helos that we had for Inc 2. Thus it'd be 3.3 + 0.5 + 3.5 / 22 = $331M/frame which is still pretty crazy.

And AW is talking in terms of something called "Increment 1.5" that would get most of the bang they can get out of the current frames without spending limitless bucks, but they haven't really defined what that means. I presume it means "everything you can do without redesigning the main gear box, the blades, the boom and the tail unit" like they planned to do for Increment 2.

Bottom line to me is, unlike others, I'm fine with writing off the money spent so far. The only way we should go forward with LM on this program is if they put up performance bonds guaranteeing price, performance, functionality and delivery dates.
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Fri Jul 24, 2009 8:22 pm



Quoting Revelation (Reply 7):
Bottom line to me is, unlike others, I'm fine with writing off the money spent so far.

Me too.
 
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Fri Jul 24, 2009 9:41 pm

I think you all are missing the point. It makes little sense to otherwise spend the same amount of money to cancel the VH-71 program as is the plan, if it costs the same and likely more money to get another platform/program up to the same spot that the VH-71 in Increment 1 form is already at!

As a former Marine rotary-winged avionics tech, I've followed the fiasco otherwise known as the H-1 upgrade program from it's onset where hoary AH-1W and UH-1N's were intended to be upgraded to new model Zulu and Yankee status but instead, were all but basically dumped mid-way through the program for new-build airframes, essentially doubling the initial costs of the alleged "upgrade" program which was sold on the premise that it was going to be cheaper than buying new aircraft, (new aircraft that likely would not have been built by Bell helicopter mind you!)

My point is to spend anywhere from $2 to $4 billion to extend the life of the VH-3D and VH-60N would be gross fiscal mismanagement and likely only cost more than what is even currently estimated, and all so as to result in the status quo.

The facts as I understand them are simple: Increment 1 VH-71A's have every capability as do existing VH-3D and VH-60N aircraft, but instead (in addition to being brand new,) offer a larger cabin size and level of amenity, offer superior operating performance in terms of speed, range, reliability, maintainability, and survivability.

Also, throw into the equation from the perspective of a former avionics technician and that of a private pilot, the VH-71 flight deck also affords the HMX pilots an exponential level of improvement in flight deck situational awareness and cockpit resource management, which only further enhance the safety and preservation of the cargo it's tasked to ferry.

As one who spent a lot of time on the flight deck of Marine CH-46E's who recently got an opportunity to spend a few hours in the MV-22 sim, the level of improvement between the two flight decks is like the difference between carburetor and fuel injection, flint-lock rifle and an M-16, or dare I even say pen and paper versus a modern graphing calculator?

The problem with VXX is that after the contract was awarded and agreed upon, egregious scope creep suffocated the financial practicality of the platform.

I'm a logical and deductive reasoning type of guy, and I like ROI analyses. The VH-71 is still the very best and most capable platform in the entire world to perform the mission of HMX; the S-92 is decent but it's inferior in nearly every category.

So spending anywhere near the same amount as it would cost to just finish the Increment 1 buy as it would cost to terminate the current program and begin another, to again tell us what we already know, is fruitless at best.

Loren Thompson sums it up well...

Quote:

The critics are right. Starting over will cost the government at least $8 billion, and that’s not even counting the price-tag for a new replacement helicopter. First, Secretary Gates proposes to walk away from the $3.3 billion already spent on the canceled replacement helicopter, designated VH-71. Second, the government will have to pay termination fees of $200-600 million to contractors (depending on whose estimate you believe). Third, $4.4 billion will need to be spent to extend the service life of the helicopters in the existing Marine One fleet, which were supposed to be retired in the near future. Nobody knows what it will cost to develop a different replacement helicopter, but that money will be added to the $8 billion in costs already associated with the Gates decision.

It appears that Secretary Gates canceled the helicopter without a serious assessment of alternatives. VH-71 was the only rotor-craft in existence that had the potential to meet presidential range and payload requirements while still being able to land in the confined space of the White House lawn. Most of the cost overruns in the program resulted from unrealistic specifications and features added by the government. And some of the supposed problems with VH-71 that Gates cited as reasons for killing the program — like a limited service life — turn out to be untrue. But what’s most unsettling about the cancellation of the president’s new helicopter is that it squanders billions of dollars at a time when the federal government is facing the worst fiscal crisis in living memory.

http://www.dodbuzz.com/2009/06/02/vh-71-kill-wastes-8-billion/
 
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Fri Jul 24, 2009 10:40 pm

Well, that stuff is ridiculous. The VH-71 is a revolting waste of money that should have been cancelled years ago.

It is almost sick to watch the powerful corporate advodates nuzzle up despite the executive's clear position. The VH-71 will be torpedoed by the President himself. He will deservedly mock the program for its waste. There are plenty of off-the-shelf alternatives available at minimal cost. In no scenario should the president's rotor fleet exceed a cost of $1B. That it even needs to be said, exposes just how weak we have become in these choices. The US is a weak country indeed if we are unable to solve simple problems at a reasonable cost.
 
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Fri Jul 24, 2009 10:44 pm



Quoting AirRyan (Reply 9):
The facts as I understand them are simple: Increment 1 VH-71A's have every capability as do existing VH-3D and VH-60N aircraft, but instead (in addition to being brand new,) offer a larger cabin size and level of amenity, offer superior operating performance in terms of speed, range, reliability, maintainability, and survivability.

I wish I had the same understanding. The capabilities of VH-3D and VH-60N in terms of communications and defensive measures are fairly closely held, and no one seems to be spelling out exactly what an Increment 1 VH-71 is. Sure, it's at worse a EH-101 which is a fine ride, but still, no one is spelling out exactly what it is once LM "completes" it. And if VH-71 Inc 1 is such a fine ride and so superior to the existing VH-3D and VH-60N , why did we ever say we needed a VH-71 Inc 2?

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 9):
I'm a logical and deductive reasoning type of guy, and I like ROI analyses. The VH-71 is still the very best and most capable platform in the entire world to perform the mission of HMX; the S-92 is decent but it's inferior in nearly every category.

I think you may be presuming something about the cost and/or the features of the VH-71 Inc 1 which may or may not be true.
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Fri Jul 24, 2009 11:43 pm



Quoting AirRyan (Reply 9):
I think you all are missing the point. It makes little sense to otherwise spend the same amount of money to cancel the VH-71 program as is the plan, if it costs the same and likely more money to get another platform/program up to the same spot that the VH-71 in Increment 1 form is already at!

Let's not forget the principle of the thing. POTUS and his supporters just put their necks on the line to cancel the F-22 because it is the current poster child of the busted procurement process, how exactly are they now going to turn around and fund the F-22 twin sister?

This is one time when the price of growing some balls and saying enough is enough will be in the best interest of the tax payors long term, when the next project comes around OEM's will at least know that the possibility exist and excersize more due diligence.
 
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Fri Jul 24, 2009 11:53 pm



Quoting Flighty (Reply 10):
here are plenty of off-the-shelf alternatives available at minimal cost.

Such as what? The non-compliant S-92?

Quoting Flighty (Reply 10):
In no scenario should the president's rotor fleet exceed a cost of $1B.

Better than spending the same amount of money being spent now to REFURBISH and RESET the existing aircraft; and we are still left with old airplanes.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 11):
And if VH-71 Inc 1 is such a fine ride and so superior to the existing VH-3D and VH-60N , why did we ever say we needed a VH-71 Inc 2?

Because the White House, Secret Service, et al all began to stuff extra requirements into the contract?
 
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Sat Jul 25, 2009 12:19 am



Quoting Flighty (Reply 10):
Well, that stuff is ridiculous. The VH-71 is a revolting waste of money that should have been cancelled years ago.

It is almost sick to watch the powerful corporate advodates nuzzle up despite the executive's clear position. The VH-71 will be torpedoed by the President himself. He will deservedly mock the program for its waste. There are plenty of off-the-shelf alternatives available at minimal cost. In no scenario should the president's rotor fleet exceed a cost of $1B. That it even needs to be said, exposes just how weak we have become in these choices. The US is a weak country indeed if we are unable to solve simple problems at a reasonable cost.

I agree, the AH-64 and H-60 designs are of 1970's ear origin, and when is the last time Bell came up with a new airframe again?

However, the realist must ask the question that if the VH-71 program is terminated once and for all, where do we then go? HMX still exists and the POTUS will still need a ride.

So for the same amount of money to terminate the program and extend the life of the current fleet long enough so that a new competition can be awarded, why not just buy out Increment 1 instead?

And most importantly, what good will a new competition bring forth?

We all already know that the VH-71 is the best airframe available anywhere in the world to perform the mission, so what good will it do to delay the inevitable, spend billions in the meantime just to pacify the status quo, all to end up with the same dilemma that was truly responsible for the unsavory outcome of this program? (i.e. woeful program management from the WHMO, NAVAIR, and LM/AW)
 
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Sat Jul 25, 2009 1:04 am



Quoting AirRyan (Reply 14):
We all already know that the VH-71 is the best airframe available anywhere in the world to perform the mission,

At least the best one that doesn't tear up the White House lawn  Big grin . It seems the muscle of a CH-53 would help in many ways!
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Sat Jul 25, 2009 3:51 am



Quoting Flighty (Reply 10):
The VH-71 is a revolting waste of money that should have been cancelled years ago.

Correct

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 13):
Quoting Revelation (Reply 11):
And if VH-71 Inc 1 is such a fine ride and so superior to the existing VH-3D and VH-60N , why did we ever say we needed a VH-71 Inc 2?

Because the White House, Secret Service, et al all began to stuff extra requirements into the contract?

Also correct. Don't forget NAVAIR also had their fingers in that cookie jar. By the time all the "stuff" was added, the weight and space requirements almost required a "VH-47F", or "VH-53K".

The POTUS does not need a heavy lift copter, but that is what he is going to end up with.
 
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Sat Jul 25, 2009 12:07 pm



Quoting AirRyan (Reply 14):
We all already know that the VH-71 is the best airframe available anywhere in the world to perform the mission,

What exactly is the mission? A new competition will have to define that as it is not just transporting POTUS, certainely the mission that spawned the current VH-71 is not viable.

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 14):
all to end up with the same dilemma that was truly responsible for the unsavory outcome of this program? (i.e. woeful program management from the WHMO, NAVAIR, and LM/AW)

They have already been added to the mission capabilities of the a/c hence the cost. If the OEM had a tranche 3 a/c which excluded all the "crappy items" which exploded this project that could be considered as an alternative, but since those requirements were already built into the a/c you cannot make them go away or pretend that they did not exist.

The only way to get to tranche3 is to start the process all over again with stricter guidelines on what is really expected, I'm certain that if due diligence is done on all sides, smaller a/c will also be considered, as the chances of the mission being defined as being able to transport the president X miles or XX hours will take precidence over bathrooms, conference rooms, communications rooms, etc.

Blackhawks are in the presidential fleet, POTUS uses them, if they had gotten rid of the VH-3's and standardized on the UH-60's when they were first purchased this whole project would never exist, whatever removed the UH-60 from this project is not technical, so ??? My thought is that the VH-3's remained because the a/c were already in inventory and cost was not an issue, cost is now an issue and the UH-60 is the cheapest option.

1. It is already in use, pilots, mechanics, spares already exist
2. It is transportable by the C-17, C5, with minimal break-down
3. Range is adequate
4. A/c is still in production with improved capabilities, has excellent record, and time in sevice.
 
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Sat Jul 25, 2009 3:14 pm



Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 13):
Better than spending the same amount of money being spent now to REFURBISH and RESET the existing aircraft; and we are still left with old airplanes.

That are still performing the mission every day, let's not forget.
 
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Sat Jul 25, 2009 6:20 pm



Quoting Par13del (Reply 17):
What exactly is the mission? A new competition will have to define that as it is not just transporting POTUS, certainely the mission that spawned the current VH-71 is not viable.

A new competition as in another competition? We just had a VXX competition who's RFP went out in December of 2003 and was awarded in January of 2005?

Oh that's right, we just added $440m in the defense spending bill for another new competition for KC-X.

Why do we all of sudden need two competitions for every program?

Quoting Par13del (Reply 17):
The only way to get to tranche3 is to start the process all over again with stricter guidelines on what is really expected, I'm certain that if due diligence is done on all sides, smaller a/c will also be considered, as the chances of the mission being defined as being able to transport the president X miles or XX hours will take precidence over bathrooms, conference rooms, communications rooms, etc.

But the real question is do even really need Increment 3? We're talking about helicopters here, not jumbo jets or underground bunkers. Obviously more was added to the contract than what any rotary-winged platform and or program could digest.

Quoting Par13del (Reply 17):
Blackhawks are in the presidential fleet, POTUS uses them, if they had gotten rid of the VH-3's and standardized on the UH-60's when they were first purchased this whole project would never exist, whatever removed the UH-60 from this project is not technical, so ??? My thought is that the VH-3's remained because the a/c were already in inventory and cost was not an issue, cost is now an issue and the UH-60 is the cheapest option.

1. It is already in use, pilots, mechanics, spares already exist
2. It is transportable by the C-17, C5, with minimal break-down
3. Range is adequate
4. A/c is still in production with improved capabilities, has excellent record, and time in sevice.

Yeah except for the fact that the VH-60N offers the least amount of room to the POTUS since the Bell UH-13-J “Sioux” flew President Eisenhower to Camp David in July of 1957.

Gates has mentioned that perhaps a two aircraft mix is more so what HMX needs for the future, as is the current case with the VH-60N/VH-3D mix.

So if new-build VIP H-60's are what's needed for overseas, it's not like you can stick a whole lot in those cabins anyways, so they can't possibly be too terribly expensive.

They might be a good combination to the VH-71A Increment 1 buy, which would be in less numbers than what was originally planned and thereby plausible that it be supplemented.
 
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Sun Jul 26, 2009 2:21 am



Quoting AirRyan (Reply 19):
Why do we all of sudden need two competitions for every program?

The first one is screwed up and cannot be fixed, we are now up to 3 for the tanker so lets hope this one does not follow that route

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 19):
But the real question is do even really need Increment 3? We're talking about helicopters here, not jumbo jets or underground bunkers. Obviously more was added to the contract than what any rotary-winged platform and or program could digest.

Well you did say that the VH-71 was the best a/c for the job, you do realise that the VH-71 is the project with all those stuff already added to it, the way your govt. works, if you want to remove them another appropriation is required, hence the new project.

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 19):
Yeah except for the fact that the VH-60N offers the least amount of room to the POTUS since the Bell UH-13-J “Sioux” flew President Eisenhower to Camp David in July of 1957.

And space is an issue for the stuff that was added which made the a/c to expensive and led to its cancellation. If the VH-3 and UH-60 are used with their space obviously it is enough.

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 19):
So if new-build VIP H-60's are what's needed for overseas, it's not like you can stick a whole lot in those cabins anyways, so they can't possibly be too terribly expensive.

Never mentioned overseas, have seen the UH-60 used in the the southern US before, one a/c leads to simplified maintenance, crew training, spare parts etc. etc. etc. all those reason that folks use for a single tanker buy.

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 19):
They might be a good combination to the VH-71A Increment 1 buy, which would be in less numbers than what was originally planned and thereby plausible that it be supplemented.

See comment above, you do not need two types, in these hard economic times POTUS should make do with one a/c, it is the cheapest solution. Besides, the next POTUS might not be as tall as the current one so the a/c will be even larger  Smile
 
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:52 am



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 16):
Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 13):
Quoting Revelation (Reply 11):
And if VH-71 Inc 1 is such a fine ride and so superior to the existing VH-3D and VH-60N , why did we ever say we needed a VH-71 Inc 2?

Because the White House, Secret Service, et al all began to stuff extra requirements into the contract?

Also correct. Don't forget NAVAIR also had their fingers in that cookie jar. By the time all the "stuff" was added, the weight and space requirements almost required a "VH-47F", or "VH-53K".

The POTUS does not need a heavy lift copter, but that is what he is going to end up with.

My question was rhetorical.

To me, this is all so rediculous.

We take a helo that can carry 14 troops, or carry two torpedos in an ASW role, and add so much stuff to it that we end up needing to add more powerful engines and redesign almost every mechanical aspect of the helo? We end up with helos that are more expensive than the VC-25? Was reading that HMX-1 also supports the vice president, the secretary of defense, the secretary of the Navy and visiting foriegn VIPs. Maybe these folks should travel by car instead of us buying 22 flying Oval Offices?
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ThePointblank
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Sun Jul 26, 2009 5:55 am



Quoting Sasd209 (Reply 18):
That are still performing the mission every day, let's not forget.

Yes, the VH-3 which is no longer produced, and is at the end of the product life for Sikorsky. Parts that are getting increasingly difficult to source which means more expensive and more difficult upkeep.
 
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par13del
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Sun Jul 26, 2009 12:12 pm



Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 22):
Yes, the VH-3 which is no longer produced, and is at the end of the product life for Sikorsky. Parts that are getting increasingly difficult to source which means more expensive and more difficult upkeep.

Thats another reason why the push is so urgent for the VH-71, if enough of the VH-3's break down, you might see a VH-60 landing on the White House law and someone will have to explain where it came from, when it was bought and if they already had it, why they were spending billions for a new a/c to replace the VH-3 when they already had another modern chopper in the fleet.
 
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:14 pm



Quoting Par13del (Reply 23):
if enough of the VH-3's break down

If enough break down, maybe Obama will have to ask VP, SecDef and SecNav to travel by car instead, oh the indignity of it all...
Inspiration, move me brightly!
 
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par13del
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Sun Jul 26, 2009 5:44 pm



Quoting Revelation (Reply 24):
If enough break down, maybe Obama will have to ask VP, SecDef and SecNav to travel by car instead, oh the indignity of it all...

Now why do you want to open up a new can of worms, did they not just spend thousands of dollars on "The Beast", you want them to buy more ?  Smile
 
sasd209
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:01 pm



Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 22):
Yes, the VH-3 which is no longer produced, and is at the end of the product life for Sikorsky. Parts that are getting increasingly difficult to source which means more expensive and more difficult upkeep.

I've never said anything to the contrary of your statement. I was simply stating a fact....some here give the impression that HMX has broke birds all over the place and that they are using duct tape and bailing wire to keep them airborne. Yes it is pricey, yes a replacement is needed in the near future, but the A/C perform the mission every day quite well enough to satisfy the users and customer.
 
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Sun Jul 26, 2009 9:39 pm



Quoting Sasd209 (Reply 26):
but the A/C perform the mission every day quite well enough to satisfy the users and customer.

Who do you believe to be the customer?

The President?

The Secret Service?

Or the USMC?


Even if the Secret Service or USMC were very unsatisfied with the current fleet, it is unlikely they would say anything publicly.

Have fun,

CTR
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sasd209
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Sun Jul 26, 2009 11:10 pm

Sorry, I wasn't clear:

HMX-1 is the user and the 'customer' is the one who uses the services provided ie: the president and whomever he lets use his helicopters.

Quoting CTR (Reply 27):
Even if the Secret Service or USMC were very unsatisfied with the current fleet, it is unlikely they would say anything publicly.

I agree mostly with that, but in this era of anonymous blogging and twittering, there is a potential outlet for 'dissatisfaction' . AFAIK you have to apply and be accepted as a pilot of HMX-1, and I doubt they'd still be applying to that posting if they knew they'd be piloting unsafe flying crapboxes.

Once again, I do see the need for a replacement project, I was simply responding to the doom and gloom of this and other threads and those that think the current fleet is not safe or effective. Notice I didn't say 'cost-effective', just 'effective' in accomplishing the mission.
 
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Sun Jul 26, 2009 11:26 pm



Quoting CTR (Reply 27):
Even if the Secret Service or USMC were very unsatisfied with the current fleet, it is unlikely they would say anything publicly.

So who exactly started the replacement process and what reasons were given, it had to have been the Navy and Marines, unless someone wants to suggest that the White House did it to reward a foreign country for polotical support?  Smile
 
ThePointblank
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Mon Jul 27, 2009 12:31 am



Quoting Sasd209 (Reply 26):
Yes it is pricey, yes a replacement is needed in the near future, but the A/C perform the mission every day quite well enough to satisfy the users and customer.

The issue is that you need to start the process to buy a replacement when your existing equipment still has a bit of life in it. If you continuously delay, you may reach a situation where you won't have the assets to do the job because the existing assets are worn out.
 
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par13del
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:40 pm



Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 30):
The issue is that you need to start the process to buy a replacement when your existing equipment still has a bit of life in it. If you continuously delay, you may reach a situation where you won't have the assets to do the job because the existing assets are worn out.

Unfortunately, the "bit of life" is usually a paper number which is adjustable based on policital or economic needs, remember the tankers which were in dire need of replacement hence the original 100 lease deal to Boeing, or those same a/c being the source of the immediate RFP which has now gone down the tubes and will not be put back out for bid till later this year or next.

If only there were more honest campers in the mix  Smile
 
AirRyan
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:18 pm



Quoting Sasd209 (Reply 28):
Once again, I do see the need for a replacement project, I was simply responding to the doom and gloom of this and other threads and those that think the current fleet is not safe or effective. Notice I didn't say 'cost-effective', just 'effective' in accomplishing the mission.

The doom and gloom is in reference to the fact that IF VH-71A Increment 1 is allowed to be terminated as it stands, that means about $4 billion will have to be spent on the existing fleet just so they can be prolonged long enough for an entire new program to be awarded and procured. Personally, I would equate that to nothing more than a blatant handout along the lines of the USMC H-1 upgrade that turn into a gravy train for Bell.

So which $4B do you think would be better invested - finish the VH-71A Inc 1 buy or SLEP' existing fleets of VH-3D and VH-60N?

Quoting Par13del (Reply 29):
So who exactly started the replacement process and what reasons were given, it had to have been the Navy and Marines, unless someone wants to suggest that the White House did it to reward a foreign country for polotical support?

The combination of old age (VH-3D,) inadequate platform for the mission (VH-60N,) and the exacerbation of 9/11.

Quoting Par13del (Reply 20):
See comment above, you do not need two types, in these hard economic times POTUS should make do with one a/c, it is the cheapest solution. Besides, the next POTUS might not be as tall as the current one so the a/c will be even larger

A), we currently use a two aircraft fleet for VIP transport, B) SECDEF Gates is the latest one talking about the plausibility of a real two aircraft replacement program, and C) the VH-60N is again, wholly inadequate, not for simply transporting the POTUS, but inadequate as described by those that be (WHMO) for what VXX should not be supplying the POTUS in the post 9/11 environment.

Quoting Par13del (Reply 20):

Never mentioned overseas, have seen the UH-60

But you were talking about USAF C-5 transport times, which are for overseas uses.

Quoting Par13del (Reply 20):
And space is an issue for the stuff that was added which made the a/c to expensive and led to its cancellation. If the VH-3 and UH-60 are used with their space obviously it is enough.

The existing fleet of VH-3D/VH-60N are not even as capable as VH-71A in Increment 1, let alone Increment 3 which is significantly advanced from where we are today with the current fleet of Sikorsky aircraft.

Quoting Par13del (Reply 20):
The first one is screwed up and cannot be fixed, we are now up to 3 for the tanker so lets hope this one does not follow that route

But this is a trend going back to damned near every military program since the late 1980's - they are all over-budget and typically late. The F-22 was so screwed up that by the time the aircraft was ready to enter service they needed additional money just to replace the early 1990's era CPU's.

It used to be that whomever submits their bid and the winner is selected, usually because both projects meet the minimum criteria but one of them bid lower than the other. Now, we have one too many lawyer and politician who are severely hindering our ability to even begin projects.

My point is what good will another competition do either the KC-X³ or VXX² if we don't have a significant change to our present program management process?
 
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:43 pm



Quoting AirRyan (Reply 32):
inadequate as described by those that be (WHMO) for what VXX should not be supplying the POTUS in the post 9/11 environment.

And these are the ones who are being told they can't have everything they want, especially if that means 22 flying white houses with tv studios, galleys and mid-continental range.

IMHO VH-71 is yet another example of the vast overreaction to 9/11 by the previous administration.

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 32):
My point is what good will another competition do either the KC-X³ or VXX² if we don't have a significant change to our present program management process?

And what good would it be to keep running a program that is both fiscally and politically unsustainable?
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Tue Jul 28, 2009 1:42 am



Quoting Revelation (Reply 33):
IMHO VH-71 is yet another example of the vast overreaction to 9/11 by the previous administration.

no, never ever would I have thought the previous administration would do anything of the sort!  sarcastic 

can't the increment 1 choppers be used for anything else by the USG?

maybe we can flog them off to the Brits like the Danes did with some of their EH101s.
 
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par13del
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Tue Jul 28, 2009 6:44 pm



Quoting Trex8 (Reply 34):
can't the increment 1 choppers be used for anything else by the USG?

In 5 years wonder what the cost would be for these one of a kind a/c, hopefully those in support of their purchase will put out some long term maintenance figures

Quoting Trex8 (Reply 34):
maybe we can flog them off to the Brits like the Danes did with some of their EH101s

Yeah right, the Brits would probably see right away that they ain't no EH101  Smile

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 32):
But this is a trend going back to damned near every military program since the late 1980's - they are all over-budget and typically late. The F-22 was so screwed up that by the time the aircraft was ready to enter service they needed additional money just to replace the early 1990's era CPU's.



Quoting AirRyan (Reply 32):
My point is what good will another competition do either the KC-X³ or VXX² if we don't have a significant change to our present program management process?

Only thing I can say is maybe they are trying to send a message that the trend stops now, somehow I don't think so, but I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt, lets wait and see.

Cheers
 
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Thu Jul 30, 2009 1:40 am



Quoting Trex8 (Reply 34):
can't the increment 1 choppers be used for anything else by the USG?

maybe we can flog them off to the Brits like the Danes did with some of their EH101s.

They might be delighted at the opportunity of replacing this with those.....  Smile

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AirRyan
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:42 am

I guess Sikorsky must have given a lot of money to Obama's political campaign, because evidently major multi-billion dollar defense project requirements change every five years now and we need an entire new program and set of requirements, let alone a new platform.

Is the Navy just full of complete and utter morons nowadays, or what? I know that's not the case because I have good friends still serving, but seriously - the Navy is looking like second rate adolescent ass clowns over this project.

Obviously you cannot gut your entire government every four years every time a new President moves into the White House, so where the hell is the Navy/Marines on this program: complete and total inept program management and now we're supposed to digest that they just had so little of a clue that Obama thinks we need an entire new program to define the requirements.

This is the most blatant evidence of a Sikorsky stimulus-bailout/handout I've read yet; first three of four billion to extend the life of the current Sikorsky fleet at HMX, and then how many more billions for they when they all but assuredly win a new bid? Can anyone honestly say a new program would not be heavily skewed against LM/AW and favored towards Sikorsky?

Canceling this program is the most egregious example, out of many recent to choose from, of taxpayer waste and the irony is that it's all being done under the false auspice of trying to save the taxpayer money.

This is exactly why Rome fell: people just got too greedy, too fat, and too damned lazy. Good job USA.

Quote:

“If the final bill were to include funds that continue the existing VH-71 program, or would prejudge the plan to re-compete the presidential helicopter program, the president’s senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill,”



Quote:

The Hill newspaper reports that the White House does not want to fund the program, at least until an analysis of the requirements for the new helicopter is completed by the White House and the Pentagon.



Quote:

Defense appropriators want to find a way to justify the $3.2 billion already spent on the program. The money in the bill is to get the 5 VH-71's that have already been built operational. But OMB said in its statement that the money included in the bill would not be enough to achieve that goal. “These helicopters currently have no mission equipment and would require in excess of $2 billion to complete and to operate as presidential helicopters, yet would still not meet full operational requirements for that mission,” OMB said in the statement.

You know, you debate partisan politics all you want, but what we should not be debating are two entirely separate of numbers for the same project! Who's right here, OMB out of the WH or the CBO who is supposed to be devoid of partisan politics? If AW tells us that we can do so and so for x amount of money, why can't we take them up on that offer and be done with it?

http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?C...5d6e73-6592-447c-a1de-1d1b83985c75
 
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:16 am



Quoting AirRyan (Reply 37):
Obviously you cannot gut your entire government every four years every time a new President moves into the White House, so where the hell is the Navy/Marines on this program: complete and total inept program management and now we're supposed to digest that they just had so little of a clue that Obama thinks we need an entire new program to define the requirements.

The existing requirements drove the program team to have to redo the EH-101's engines, rotors, gear box, boom and tail assembly and spend twice as much money as planned.

I think we need a new set of requirements, one that will work with an existing helo.

Also I think we need to look closely at exactly who gets to ride around in a HMX-1 helo. Why are we buying 22 new helos? Why does the Secretary of the Navy justify having a VH-71 class platform to fly around in? If his time is so important, chuck him in the back of a UH-60, says I.
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Lumberton
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:49 pm

The Obama administration has added the VH-71 to the "veto threat list". That makes three so far: F-22, F-136 engine (alternate for the F-35), and the VH-71.
http://www.govexec.com/story_page.cfm?articleid=43269&dcn=e_gvet

Quote:
The White House threatened on Tuesday to veto the fiscal 2010 Defense Appropriations bill if it includes any funding to continue the troubled VH-71 presidential helicopter program, whose skyrocketing cost and schedule delays made it a target for cancellation this year.

In a Statement of Administration Policy, the White House said it "strongly objects" to the House Appropriations Committee's decision to include $485 million in the bill to make five partially completed helicopters operational, arguing that doing so is unnecessary and too costly.

"These helicopters currently have no mission equipment and would require in excess of $2 billion to complete and to operate as presidential helicopters, yet would still not meet full operational requirements for that mission," according to the statement.

Frankly, I'd rate the F-22 as having a better chance than this helicopter. It would make Obama a laughingstock after he criticized it in public earlier.
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
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par13del
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:54 pm



Quoting Revelation (Reply 38):
Also I think we need to look closely at exactly who gets to ride around in a HMX-1 helo. Why are we buying 22 new helos? Why does the Secretary of the Navy justify having a VH-71 class platform to fly around in? If his time is so important, chuck him in the back of a UH-60, says I.

We often expect leaders to be better than us mere mortals and humans but time after time they disappoint. Everyone know the paint scheme on those birds, it does take them a while to realise that the bloke who just stepped off aint POTUS, but who cares right  Smile
 
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:19 pm



Quoting Lumberton (Reply 39):
Frankly, I'd rate the F-22 as having a better chance than this helicopter. It would make Obama a laughingstock after he criticized it in public earlier.

But even Obama will admit, (which is very difficult for a Harvard lawyer to do) that he knows little to absolutely nothing about military projects and in particular, helicopters. Obama was simply playing politics when he agreed with McCain and could easily save face by simply stating the truth that the numbers proved to contrary to be the case and it would only more expensive to terminate the program.

I guarantee other than perhaps General Jones heading the NSA, no one in Obama's administration other than maybe Dr. Gates (not the beer fest one, the other one: the SECDEF) appears to be readily informed on the subject. John Murtha is the one putting this amendment into the bill, and if anyone in all of Congress has the political capital (thirty years in Congress) and military credibility (former Marine Colonel) to get such a thing done, it's Murtha. Quite frankly, Murtha ought to be the Speaker of the House over Pelosi, but he wasn't left enough for Rahm Emanuel.

If as the OMB suggests, that these Increment 1 aircraft are just bare bones aircraft and need billions more, contrary to what AW's CEO says, just to get them mission status ready, then what are the aircraft constructed with, 22k carat gold leaf insulation? I'll side with AW on this one over OMB.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 38):
Also I think we need to look closely at exactly who gets to ride around in a HMX-1 helo. Why are we buying 22 new helos? Why does the Secretary of the Navy justify having a VH-71 class platform to fly around in? If his time is so important, chuck him in the back of a UH-60, says I.

If you're asking why we need 22 (original buy was 23) HMX helos than you obviously are not terribly familiar with HMX in the first place, which only further elaborates as to why you are opposed to the VH-71.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 38):
The existing requirements drove the program team to have to redo the EH-101's engines, rotors, gear box, boom and tail assembly and spend twice as much money as planned.

But those were planned for from the start (Increment 1 through 3 Wink what wasn't planned for was the ignorant scope creep by the part of the WHMO and NAVAIR. I don't know if Berlusconi needs to fly over and meet with Obama personally so he can spell it out in broken English using simple math so Obama can see the light, or better yet spell it out in the media so Obama can't politicize the aircraft when it's readily apparent that AW will finish the Increment 1 buy for less money than what it would cost the US to go through with the program termination.
 
Lumberton
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:26 pm



Quoting AirRyan (Reply 41):
Murtha is the one putting this amendment into the bill, and if anyone in all of Congress has the political capital (thirty years in Congress) and military credibility (former Marine Colonel) to get such a thing done, it's Murtha. Quite frankly, Murtha ought to be the Speaker of the House over Pelosi, but he wasn't left enough for Rahm Emanuel.

Murtha has some potentially serious issues hanging over his head due to his relations with lobbyists. He can't afford to push too hard here.
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
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par13del
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:59 pm



Quoting Lumberton (Reply 42):
Murtha has some potentially serious issues hanging over his head due to his relations with lobbyists. He can't afford to push too hard here.

A lot of horse trading is now taking place, and usually it make no difference what the original bill is all about, everything in fair game, health care is a huge issue right now which may over shadow any of the military projects, they may get relegated to IOU's for the next budget.
 
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Thu Jul 30, 2009 5:01 pm



Quoting AirRyan (Reply 41):
If you're asking why we need 22 (original buy was 23) HMX helos than you obviously are not terribly familiar with HMX in the first place, which only further elaborates as to why you are opposed to the VH-71.

Since you are so superior, why not explain why anyone other than POTUS and perhaps VP and foreign dignitaries of similar stature should be given a ride in one of the 22 er 23 flying white houses?

Maybe SecDef will pull an Al Haig and take over, so he needs a flying TV studio?
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AirRyan
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:24 pm



Quoting Revelation (Reply 44):

Since you are so superior, why not explain why anyone other than POTUS and perhaps VP and foreign dignitaries of similar stature should be given a ride in one of the 22 er 23 flying white houses?

It's not superiority, it's just that your argument questioning the need of 23 aircraft for Marine is elementary and has been beaten to death for quite some time now.

Sure, I used to work on Marine helicopters and so I'm of course it should be as to no surprise that I'm readily familiar with how HMX works, but it's not exactly top secret classified information that HMX-1 consists of more than one or two helicopters.

The existing fleet of Presidential helicopters consists of a combination of both VH-3D and VH-60N's for POTUS use, as well as six CH-46E and ten CH-53E aircraft as well for the rest of the luggage, so-to-speak. When Marine One comes to the White House, there are at least two other VH-3D's flying on it's wing; they travel in packs so as to make it that much more difficult for a potential adversary to get a lucky shot off and down the helicopter carrying the POTUS.

Also, these aircraft are routinely pre staged by Marine personnel so that the President can fly in one part of the country and do their thing, and then go out to the opposite end of the county a day or two later and have his helicopters already out there, staged, and ready for flight.

I believe there are like 11 VH-3D's which although are of a modernized variant still go back to 1961 and President John F. Kennedy! There are 8 VH-60N's which we've already seen Obama crawl out of, because their cabin size is not that of a stand-up cabin and in such are much less comfortable for the POTUS, their family, and their staff.

By going with 23 VH-71's as was the original plan, these aircraft would replace both the 11 VH-3D and 8 VH-60N's, while giving the POTUS an exponential increase in comfort, performance, reliability, and most importantly, survivability - even in Increment 1 form.

The House voted today and approved the defense spending bill, and is now ready for the President to sign. The House went along with the Senate and stripped F-22 funds but kept funding for the VH-71 and the alternative F-35 engine, as well as some more C-17's and I believe Super Hornets.

So, will Obama veto the bill when all of his Democrats (400 to 30, so most Republicans, too) in Congress voted to the contrary, does Obama have that much audacity? We shall see.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/...0viHbg1MRl_JEyD8Jb8XWbbRAD99OUS080
 
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:32 pm



Quoting Lumberton (Reply 39):

Frankly, I'd rate the F-22 as having a better chance than this helicopter. It would make Obama a laughingstock after he criticized it in public earlier.

Agreed, with the full weight of Obama's young Presidency against the VH-71, it is d e a d.

It will make screeches and noises as it dies.
 
Lumberton
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:32 pm

Quoting AirRyan (Reply 45):
So, will Obama veto the bill when all of his Democrats (400 to 30, so most Republicans, too) in Congress voted to the contrary, does Obama have that much audacity? We shall see.

If they are naive enough to challenge the White House solely on this helicopter, then Obama will veto the bill--and the vast majority of the public will support him on this. Even the Congress ain't that dumb.

CSAR-X might rise to the level of a "dust up" if Congress pushes back--after all, the prospect of stranded aircrew could be a powerful image. F-22 could as well. VH-71, a new helo to land on the White House lawn for photo ops? IMO, forget it.

[Edited 2009-07-30 15:36:49]
"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
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par13del
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:58 pm



Quoting AirRyan (Reply 45):
So, will Obama veto the bill when all of his Democrats (400 to 30, so most Republicans, too) in Congress voted to the contrary, does Obama have that much audacity? We shall see.

Correct me if I'm wrong but since the Senate version differs from the House the bill has to go to committe before being sent to the president? If I'm right, there's still time for negotiation before the threat of the pen becomes real.
 
sasd209
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RE: House App Comm Funds VH-71; Full Vote Next Week

Thu Jul 30, 2009 11:03 pm



Quoting AirRyan (Reply 45):
I believe there are like 11 VH-3D's which although are of a modernized variant still go back to 1961

Ummm....no they don't.

" The VH-3D was delivered to HMX-1 in December 1974 as a replacement for the VH-3A, which entered service in 1963. By the end of 1976, the VH-3A had been completely replaced by the VH-3D."
"
"Date Deployed: December 1974." - They were new builds
Those are facts. Source: http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=1200&tid=700&ct=1

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