|Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 2):|
Well, the program failure is not only the fault of the DOD. The SS and WH also had a significant influence in the VH-71
Indeed, in my comments I used the words "government side" to cover all of the above.
According to the report, the contract established performance numbers that had to be met. To do that, they needed larger engines, which of course generates more torque, so you then need a longer tail boom. And the larger engines mean more weight, so the cabin and skids need to be stronger to aid survival of a catastrophic engine or transmission failure. So LM
started designing what was in essence a new model of the Merlin on the taxpayer's dime just to meet a performance number they had no wiggle room on, and the costs skyrocked. At least that's the way I read the report.
I'm sure both the gov't and LM
knew exactly what was going on. The last gov't let the program survive one critical review, but the new admin didn't. I'm sure LM
can cover its ass by saying everything it was doing had gov't approval. The bottom line is they still raked in a ton of money even though the program was canceled. In fact Congress gave them some additional funds to keep some R&D activities going even after VH
-71 was canned.
Clearly some compromises need to be made. VH
-71 had a flying kitchen and flying TV
studio and enough frames to support all kinds of VIPs other than the President. Clearly the budget can't support such things now. Buy fewer frames, let the VIPs eat bagged lunches, and make the mission work within the available technology, instead of having to invent all new technology.