Can’t get to the choppa…

So it seems that the Air Force is trying to replace it’s old UH-1 Huey’s.

USAF Still Deciding What it Wants in New Choppers
By John Reed Tuesday, April 5th, 2011 12:04 pm
Posted in Air, Policy

Air Force officials are still making up their minds as to whether the service will move to buy an existing chopper or a new one to replace the service’s ageing UH-1N Huey utility helicopters and HH-60 Pave Hawk combat search and rescue choppers.

The Air Force has a problem with picking new aircraft. The plan to replace their KC-135 was such a goat rope it sent an official to prison. They killed the C-27J program the Army wanted.

And now the sordid tale of the UH-1 replacement. Hueys are associated with the Vietnam war. The distinctive “wap-wap” of the rotors, “Fortunate Son” playing in the background…

The Chair Force uses the choppers to help secure the vast fields of ICBM’s and ferry VIPs around DC. Being made in America back when men wore hats to work, the Beatles were playing concerts and Detroit still made cars (and not shitty rappers), the UH-1’s are long in the tooth. So a plan was hatched to get some UH-60’s from the Army. The Blackhawk was made to replace the Vietnam war era chopper and the taxpayer already paid for it.

Cue outrage by industry and professional government spending gadflys.

Industry wants to sell new aircraft. Budget watches were angry about the spending shenanigans (no-bid contracts) of the Bush Administration.

“Buying the UH-60 comes with a fixed, known cost, and can be done now. But buying any other aircraft, or even just running a competition, even if the Blackhawk wins, introduces both delays into the program, and price uncertainties. Further, does anyone think that if there was an open competition for the CVLSP, the Air Force wouldn’t succumb to the temptation to load the requirements up with goodies that should really be in the “nice, but not needed” category?

Xbradtc, showing more common sense than many in on Capital Hill
(except Gen. Norton Schwartz )

The bad economy almost forced the USAF to take the Marines hand-me downs. Thus they inherit choppers at the end of their life cycle that need major work, to replace choppers at the end of their life cycle that need major work. Instead there will be a competition :

“For [the Huey replacement], we’re anticipating a summer 2011 draft request for proposal release and the final RFP early fall,” said Maj. Gen. Randal D. Fullhart, a top service aircraft-buyer. “We’re proceeding toward an initial operating capability for common vertical lift support platform program in 2015.”
AF lays out helo-buying strategy, By Philip Ewing

Let’s see how that worked out for the Army:

“The Army, however, is still the Army. There’s a danger it could just go from one extreme to another and become so gun shy about new programs that it forces itself to take baby steps when it could make strides, but won’t for fear of stumbling again. And at very least, as you’ve read here, all this testing and evaluation isn’t free. Service officials have to take care that the NIE and the rest of the new evaluation infrastructure doesn’t get so expensive that the Army risks the progress it has been hoping for.“–
The Army’s new golden age of testing,By Philip Ewing

Clearly, if you want a successful program, keep Philip Ewing and XbradTC the hell away from your office…

Seriously, this is wrong on so many levels. A simple program becomes mired in proposals and PowerPoint slides. Requirements creep and seep until we can’t afford it. Hell the proposed Ground Combat Vehicle is now at 70+ tons and it’s a troop carrier!

Something needs to be done before the DoD gets 80’s era spending in a 70’s economy. We can’t afford boondoggles and cuts. Someone has to take charge, ’cause the current leadership aint..

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