AirRyan
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Last Chance For The VH-71?

Mon Sep 28, 2009 6:16 pm

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.
 
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par13del
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Mon Sep 28, 2009 7:28 pm

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?
 
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:29 pm



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.
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Jackonicko
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:41 pm

Yes, I concur.

What should happen is almost impossible because of the politics of this.
 
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Mon Sep 28, 2009 9:22 pm



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.
 
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Mon Sep 28, 2009 10:20 pm

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.
 
AirRyan
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Mon Sep 28, 2009 11:01 pm



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.
 
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par13del
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Mon Sep 28, 2009 11:14 pm



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?
 
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Mon Sep 28, 2009 11:36 pm



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....
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Jackonicko
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Tue Sep 29, 2009 12:09 am

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.
 
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par13del
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Tue Sep 29, 2009 12:27 am



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.
 
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Tue Sep 29, 2009 12:33 am



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.
 
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:36 am



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.
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Tue Sep 29, 2009 10:16 am

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.
 
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par13del
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Tue Sep 29, 2009 12:54 pm



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
 
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Tue Sep 29, 2009 3:47 pm



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.
 
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Tue Sep 29, 2009 5:21 pm

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.
 
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Tue Sep 29, 2009 5:52 pm



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?
 
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Tue Sep 29, 2009 10:45 pm

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! Light the song with sense and color.
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Faced with mysteries dark and vast, statements just seem vain at last.
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Flighty
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:05 am



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.
 
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Wed Sep 30, 2009 5:39 am



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'
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Wed Sep 30, 2009 7:00 am



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.
 
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Wed Sep 30, 2009 1:10 pm



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! Light the song with sense and color.
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:46 pm



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.
 
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Wed Sep 30, 2009 3:56 pm

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! Light the song with sense and color.
Hold away despair, more than this I will not ask.
Faced with mysteries dark and vast, statements just seem vain at last.
Some rise, some fall, some climb, to get to Terrapin!
 
AirRyan
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Wed Sep 30, 2009 4:09 pm



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 15):
This is a program that has no end in site to the amount of money it will costs. Cancel it now.

It actually has very fiscally plausible and universally agreed upon avenues of completion, a.k.a. complete the Increment 1 buy for starters.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 17):
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?

But that is just it - Obama as smug as he often is cannot possibly argue that he knows anything about rotary winged helicopters. All he sees is a bunch of die-hard and far more devoted to the Country US Marines open doors for he and his guests on an overly glossy helicopter; reminds me of the old adage about polishing a turd. I'd wager that Obama probably thinks all helicopters are as clean and glossy as his Marine One helos! Haha!!

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

Actually, they are not quite that expensive. By the same logic to cancel the VH-71 we should never have made the B-2, V-22, F-22, or as we will likely realize, the F-35.

Quote:

And I am told by the manufacturer that for roughly $100 million each, which comes well under the original $6.8 billion, they will enter into a fixed, firm-price contract to deliver another 14, which would mean we would have a total fleet then of 19 planes.”



Quote:

On August 17, in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the President said, “It [the new presidential helicopter] would let me cook a meal while under nuclear attack. Now, let me tell you something: If the United States of America is under nuclear attack, the last thing on my mind will be whipping up a snack.” He added, “If a project doesn’t support our troops, if it does not make America safer, we will not fund it. If a system doesn’t perform, we will terminate it. And if Congress sends me a defense bill loaded with a bunch of pork, I will veto it.”

Yeah, like where has Obama been when he signed the $787 BILLION dollar "Economic Stimulus Bill" more commonly known as the "Democrat Spending Spree?" Pork the President says? $8 BILLION to ACORN is pork.
 
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par13del
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Wed Sep 30, 2009 10:58 pm



Quoting Revelation (Reply 22):
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.

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, why not just delay the in service date scrap one and go straight to two?

Quoting Revelation (Reply 22):
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.

Thats where an improved "Beast" should come in, if POTUS needs to stay in the air in his helo long enough to need full audio and video capabilities, why not do an increment two version of the "Beast" lock it down in an underground garage it should function just as well as a helo and no way 3 or 4 of them will cost a billion dollars right  Smile

Quoting Revelation (Reply 24):
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.

Almost sounds like a new a/c.

I not being facetious here but is this not a opportunity for the UCAV folks to have a specially made UCAV included in the Marine One fleet to function as a communications relay a/c, allow the actual helo to have minimal or lighter weight equipment and the UCAV take up the slack, it could orbit higher over the a/c in the shell program.
Just a thought.
 
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Revelation
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:58 pm

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

Quote:
The helicopter program is six years behind schedule and the estimated cost for a fleet of 28 has doubled to $13 billion. Inouye is siding with Obama against House lawmakers who want to keep the program alive and at least get a few helicopters for the U.S. investment.

"We are completely committed to restoring funding for Increment One of the VH-71 helicopter, but we are picking our fights strategically," said Max Young, a spokesman for U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. Schumer is not a member of the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee. "This is just one step in the fight, and we will be pursuing all options to protect the taxpayers' multibillion-dollar investment and save hundreds of jobs in the Southern Tier."

Will be interesting to see what comes out of conference.
Inspiration, move me brightly! Light the song with sense and color.
Hold away despair, more than this I will not ask.
Faced with mysteries dark and vast, statements just seem vain at last.
Some rise, some fall, some climb, to get to Terrapin!
 
Flighty
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Sat Oct 03, 2009 8:07 pm



Quoting AirRyan (Reply 25):
By the same logic to cancel the VH-71 we should never have made the B-2, V-22, F-22, or as we will likely realize, the F-35.

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 keep America safe. Bad dictators worry all night long about those weapons.

The VH-71, by contrast, doesn't have an adequate cover story. It's just a flat out waste of money with no purpose -- they aren't even claiming it has a special utility for the mission statement of the US government. It's just a silly program that aims to waste about $10B while providing nothing over off-the-shelf S-92 or the AW product.
 
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Revelation
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:52 am

Stolen from the F-135 thread:

http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSTRE5955QC20091006

VH-71 seems to be disappearing without a trace...

Wednesday is do or die, bill will be voted on by Thursday.
Inspiration, move me brightly! Light the song with sense and color.
Hold away despair, more than this I will not ask.
Faced with mysteries dark and vast, statements just seem vain at last.
Some rise, some fall, some climb, to get to Terrapin!
 
AirRyan
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Wed Oct 07, 2009 8:14 pm

Hopefully this will help expose the ridiculousness of canceling the program...

Quote:

Hinchey: Internal Pentagon Documents Show Plans for Replacement Presidential Helicopter Project
Would Yield Nearly Identical Aircraft as Cancelled VH-71 at Triple the Cost

http://www.wbng.com/news/local/63675452.html
 
sasd209
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Wed Oct 07, 2009 10:44 pm

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 unbiased view here. YMMV.
 
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par13del
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:14 pm



Quoting AirRyan (Reply 30):
Hopefully this will help expose the ridiculousness of canceling the program...

Since the Pentagon is the one who originally came up with this replacement timeframe, organized the competition, selected a winner, organized the massive waste of public funds that is now the current program, what exactly would you expect them to say?

Internal Pentagon documents also show that the Lakota helo program - UH-72A another off the shelf product - was introduced into service at the quoted cost and is functioning within the expected parameters. Internal Pentagon documents also show that POTUS with all his height is presently using not only the VH-3 but the VH-60 as well, so for them to say that a replacement has to cost the same is disingenious at best.
 
ThePointblank
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:38 pm



Quoting Par13del (Reply 32):
Internal Pentagon documents also show that the Lakota helo program - UH-72A another off the shelf product - was introduced into service at the quoted cost and is functioning within the expected parameters. Internal Pentagon documents also show that POTUS with all his height is presently using not only the VH-3 but the VH-60 as well, so for them to say that a replacement has to cost the same is disingenious at best.

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 is fairly significant.
 
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par13del
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Thu Oct 08, 2009 12:36 am



Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 33):
Problem is that the VH-71 isn't an off the shelf product, it was a developmental product.

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.
 
AirRyan
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Thu Oct 08, 2009 2:54 am



Quoting Sasd209 (Reply 31):
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 unbiased view here. YMMV.

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 challenge to the empty rhetoric and hopefully that will get enough people asking questions like "well, is that true?" when the answers are readily available to anyone who seeks them.

Up until now, most politicians of whom the majority don't know d¡ck about the military or helicopters have just bought onto the baseless claims of SECDEF Gates; I like Dr. Gates but I want him to show us the numbers because I'm not buying his argument which can be based only on numbers, (everybody wants the VH-71, it's just a matter of how much are we willing to pay for it; i.e. cost/benefit analysis.)
 
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Devilfish
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Fri Oct 09, 2009 1:53 pm



Quoting AirRyan (Reply 35):
Now there is a new challenge to the empty rhetoric and hopefully that will get enough people asking questions like "well, is that true?" when the answers are readily available to anyone who seeks them.

Spearheaded by....

Hinchey: Internal Pentagon Documents Show Plans for Replacement Presidential Helicopter Project Would Yield Nearly Identical Aircraft as Cancelled VH-71 at Triple the Cost

(Source: Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY); issued Oct. 7, 2009)


http://www.defense-aerospace.com/art...C-delays-delivery-by-12-years.html
"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
 
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Revelation
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Fri Oct 09, 2009 3:07 pm

Going... going... gone...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091009/ap_on_go_co/us_congress_weapons_6

Quote:
The legislation does, however, accede to Obama's call to terminate the VH-71 replacement helicopter program for the presidential fleet. The program is six years behind schedule and estimated costs have doubled to more than $13 billion.

Inspiration, move me brightly! Light the song with sense and color.
Hold away despair, more than this I will not ask.
Faced with mysteries dark and vast, statements just seem vain at last.
Some rise, some fall, some climb, to get to Terrapin!
 
AirRyan
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Sun Oct 11, 2009 5:44 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 37):
Going... going... gone...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091009/ap_on_go_co/us_congress_weapons_6

Quote:
The legislation does, however, accede to Obama's call to terminate the VH-71 replacement helicopter program for the presidential fleet. The program is six years behind schedule and estimated costs have doubled to more than $13 billion.

Oh the Fat Lady hasn't sung just yet...

Quote:
U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-Hurley, said Friday that the Pentagon is misleading the public by making false claims about the VH-71 presidential helicopter program.
Advertisement

"It is offering incomplete information and citing figures that are directly contradicted by its own internal documents," Hinchey said. "The Pentagon repeatedly ignores the sunk costs and life extension costs when they cite figures."

Hinchey, a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, will serve on the House-Senate conference committee that's expected to meet next week to determine funding for the canceled copter program.

The House and Senate still have to meet to hash out the differences between their two respective bills. See, I can be bi-partisan!

VH-71+claims" target=_blank>http://www.pressconnects.com/article...esponds+to+Pentagon+s+VH-71+claims

[Edited 2009-10-11 10:45:23]
 
Lumberton
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Thu Oct 15, 2009 12:41 pm



Quoting AirRyan (Reply 38):
Oh the Fat Lady hasn't sung just yet...

The curtain call has may just been announced....
http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=4318817&c=AIR&s=TOP

Quote:
Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell on Oct. 9 vigorously denied assertions by New York Rep. Maurice Hinchey that the Pentagon's replacement for the VH-71 presidential helicopter would cost three times more than the canceled aircraft.

"With all due respect to Rep. Hinchey, his so-called facts and figures just don't comport to reality," Morrell said.

The Pentagon has yet to identify a replacement, Morrell said, and the new program will not cost more than the $13 billion VH-71 effort.

None of the options under consideration come close to $20 billion, and none come close to the cost of the canceled program," Morrell said.

"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
Jackonicko
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:24 pm

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 that provided by 19 Increment 1 VH-71s?

Because that is the offer on the table, and that is what he has to 'beat'.
 
AirRyan
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Thu Oct 15, 2009 4:34 pm



Quoting Lumberton (Reply 39):
Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell on Oct. 9 vigorously denied assertions by New York Rep. Maurice Hinchey that the Pentagon's replacement for the VH-71 presidential helicopter would cost three times more than the canceled aircraft.

"With all due respect to Rep. Hinchey, his so-called facts and figures just don't comport to reality," Morrell said.

The Pentagon has yet to identify a replacement, Morrell said, and the new program will not cost more than the $13 billion VH-71 effort.

None of the options under consideration come close to $20 billion, and none come close to the cost of the canceled program," Morrell said.

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 when the Pentagon refuses to acknowledges the money already spent, program termination costs, as well as the certain complete waste of taxpayer monies on SLEP's for the existing Sikorsky aircraft (let's face it - it's a bailout) of course they will say the existing VH-71 program is more expensive.

I know you can play politics with numbers but Hay-Zeus Frickin' Christ sh¡t me the actual numbers and let the decision be made in transparency. With the way our dollar is continually being devalued by egregious spending and borrowing, $13B in five years will only be worth about $9 or $10 billion in todays dollars.
 
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Revelation
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Thu Oct 15, 2009 5:36 pm



Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 40):
Does any of the options he's considering cost as little as $3.3 Bn, while also delivering a capability as good as that provided by 19 Increment 1 VH-71s?

Because that is the offer on the table, and that is what he has to 'beat'.

Bear with me, Jacko, here's the tail of the article:

Quote:
"We can't do anything with $500 million except perhaps pay for the termination costs of the VH-71 program," Morrell said. "To build out the five birds we already have and make them mission capable will cost us between 2 and 3 billion. Just for the 5 birds. To complete the 23 [planned operational aircraft] would cost $8 billion - and they would still not meet the requirements."

So it seems he's talking about something quite different.

$8B for 23 sounds low for Inc 2 birds, so what is he talking about?
Inspiration, move me brightly! Light the song with sense and color.
Hold away despair, more than this I will not ask.
Faced with mysteries dark and vast, statements just seem vain at last.
Some rise, some fall, some climb, to get to Terrapin!
 
Lumberton
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Fri Oct 16, 2009 12:53 pm

Gates throws down the gauntlet.

http://www.dodbuzz.com/2009/10/15/gates-throws-down-vh-71-veto-threat/

Quote:
Defense Secretary Robert Gates upped the ante in the war of wills with Congress, threatening to tell President Obama he should veto the defense spending bill should it contain funding for the VH-71 presidential helicopter.

Gates made the veto threat in an Oct. 14 letter to the chairman and ranking member of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee. He added a caveat to the veto threat, saying any language in the bill that would “prejudge the plan to re-compete the Presidential helicopter…” would also attract a veto recommendation.

"When all is said and done, more will be said than done".
 
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Revelation
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Fri Oct 16, 2009 1:49 pm

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 attempt to tuck in the $500M or so Hinchey has been trying to get in.
Inspiration, move me brightly! Light the song with sense and color.
Hold away despair, more than this I will not ask.
Faced with mysteries dark and vast, statements just seem vain at last.
Some rise, some fall, some climb, to get to Terrapin!
 
AirRyan
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:33 pm



Quoting Revelation (Reply 44):
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 attempt to tuck in the $500M or so Hinchey has been trying to get in.

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 we speak.

I have the utmost respect for Dr. Gates but I still have yet to hear him explain the decision to cut the VH-71 program under the guise of saving taxpayer money - every transparent factor indicates to the contrary. If the Pentagon isn't taking into account money already spent, program termination costs, and or SLEP costs to the existing Sikorsky fleet so that the current fleet will be able to last long enough for another new competition, then their not playing with a full deck of cards.
 
Flighty
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:48 pm



Quoting AirRyan (Reply 45):
Dr. Gates but I still have yet to hear him explain the decision to cut the VH-71 program under the guise of saving taxpayer money

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 by rapacious and over-billing defense contractors. Sure, it's written in the contract. That's exactly why the contract should be torn up and set on fire.
 
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Revelation
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:38 pm



Quoting AirRyan (Reply 45):
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 we speak.

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=1

Quote:
Last week, the House passed its $680 billion version of the budget, surpassing the president's request by adding funds to develop a second jet engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, two more ships and $1.2 billion for additional mine-resistant vehicles.

It also ends the VH-71 presidential helicopter program, built by AgustaWestland and assembled by Textron Inc.'s /quotes/comstock/13*!txt/quotes/nls/txt (TXT 19.92, -0.42, -2.06%) Bell Helicopter unit, and caps F-22 fighter procurement at 187.

The Senate's version calls for $626 billion and also kills the VH-71 and F-22 programs. But it also seeks $2.5 billion to buy 10 Boeing C-17 planes and $512 million for nine additional F-18s. The Pentagon has said it doesn't need anymore C-17 transport aircraft and only requested nine F-18s.

Inspiration, move me brightly! Light the song with sense and color.
Hold away despair, more than this I will not ask.
Faced with mysteries dark and vast, statements just seem vain at last.
Some rise, some fall, some climb, to get to Terrapin!
 
AirRyan
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Mon Oct 19, 2009 9:22 pm



Quoting Revelation (Reply 47):

The following article seems to say the money is out of the House version too:

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 end of July, which included money for VH-71 while the Senate's version did not. The next step as the linked article does go on to say is that for both bills to be merged into one, where in this case the House trying to get their version's VH-71 provisions adopted by the Senates.

I read where Charles Schumer ws supposed to be helping out on the Senate's side back when the House passed their version, but since then he's been MIA on the VH-71 from anything I've read on or about the program.

http://thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/app10.html

Quote:

The bill is now in a conference committee, where the additional funding is likely to get pared down, getting the final budget closer to what the Pentagon first requested. Final House and Senate votes are expected in the next couple of weeks.



Quote:

VH–71 PRESIDENTIAL HELICOPTER

The Committee has included $400,000,000 above the President’s
request to make the five Increment I VH–71 Presidential helicopters
operational. Although the Navy would not respond to the
Committee regarding costs to operationalize the previously purchased
five aircraft, the Future Year’s Defense Plan for fiscal year
2009 proposed $328,000,000 for fiscal year 2010 and $140,000,000
in fiscal year 2011 to complete testing and outfitting to make the
aircraft operational.

The Navy has invested over $3,200,000,000 in the VH–71 Presidential
helicopter program. On April 6, 2009, the Secretary of Defense
announced the cancellation of the program. To date, the Navy
has provided no plan for the disposition of the five aircraft that
were intended to provide interim service in the Presidential helicopter
fleet due to the age of the current fleet. If these aircraft are
not made operational, the previously appropriated funds will have
been wasted.

The Committee directs the Secretary of Defense to submit a report
on progress toward making the five Increment I VH–71 Presidential
helicopters operational. The report shall be submitted to
the congressional defense committees no later than 30 days after
the enactment of this Act.

http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-...cong_reports&docid=f:hr230.111.pdf
 
Jackonicko
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RE: Last Chance For The VH-71?

Mon Oct 19, 2009 11:22 pm

Revelation,

Morrell's talking bol.locks.

AgustaWestland have offered a 19 aircraft fleet, all Increment One, for another $3.5 Bn.

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