This company says it can save the Pentagon $1 billion on a Huey replacement
Eager to get out its message that the Boeing-Leonardo MH-139 helicopter would save the US taxpayer $1 billion as the replacement of the UH-1N helicopter, Boeing flew several journalists this afternoon to demonstrate its capabilities.
Boeing also delivered nine boxes to the Defense Department this afternoon containing its proposal for the program that will supply 84 helicopters for a range of missions, including moving security crews in the event of threats to our nation’s ICBM fields, escorting convoys moving nuclear weapons, flying senior government officials out of the capital in the event of an emergency, and also providing support to the US Embassy in Japan.
Lockheed has also submitted its proposal for the UH-1N helicopter replacement program. “We are confident it will provide the best solution for the Air Force’s critical missile site and utility support missions,” spokeswoman Melissa Chadwick says in an evening email.
One bit of good news for the Air Force: Because this program has already been funded, it won’t be affected by yet another congressional Continuing Resolution, such as the one covering government spending to December. The bids come four days before the start of the Air Force Association’s annual conference, site of so many abortive announcements about this program.
This program has been a long time coming. Just ask Gen. John Hyten, head of Strategic Command. “Of all the things in my portfolio, I can’t even describe how upset I get about the helicopter replacement program,” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee in April. “It’s a helicopter, for gosh sakes. We ought to be able to go out and buy a helicopter and put it in the hands of the people that need it. And we should be able to do that quickly.”
As Breaking D readers will remember, the Air Force yielded to congressional pressure after it tried to issue a sole source contract to buy 25 of Lockheed Martin’s UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters for the nuclear mission.
A key requirement for the competitors to meet is the ability to carry a full load of nine combat-ready airmen. Lockheed says their HH-60U can carry nine fully outfitted Security Forces specialists, special equipment, and two special mission aviators for the Continuity of Operations mission, which is all about getting senior leaders out of harm’s way in a disaster or attack.
Boeing would not discuss how many fully combat ready Security Forces troops its helicopter can carry and the aircraft we flew in was not configured as it would be for the program. When configured for commercial use (mainly oil and gas companies), though, the helicopter can carry 15 passengers, so I’m betting it can handle the load.
There have been questions about the ability of the offerings to handle some of the Air Force requirements, especially those involving the “high and hot” requirements. Flying at altitude in hot weather places great strain on helicopters and is one of their greatest challenges. I understand the highest altitude they would operate at around the missile fields is about 6,200 feet. Of course, the Continuity of Operations mission could involve flights at a wider array of locations, but low-lying Washington DC is far and away the most likely.
One of the most striking things about today’s flight on the Boeing-Leonardo aircraft was the lack of vibration. Anyone who’s flown on Blackhawks knows the comforting vibrations from its four rotors. (I usually fall asleep within five minutes of takeoff.) The MH-139 has five rotors, which, with their tapered blade ends, significantly reduce the amount of vibration. The helicopter was also noticeably quieter than most of its conventional military competitors. We flew up to 150 knots and it felt as smooth as a large Mercedes sedan on the highway. Also, as a 62-year-old with lousy Achilles tendons, I noticed that entry and exit was pretty easy.
May the best helicopter program, embodying the best combination of cost and capability, win.
How the 65-year old B-52 Stratofortress just keeps getting better with age
When you add modern computers and tinker with the bomb bay, it turns out the the B-52 can kill more targets.
This Swedish fighter was decades ahead of its time
Its best-known combat was in the service of a fictional drug cartel in the movie "Fire Birds." But in the Cold War, the Draken was truly ahead of its time.
This is how Hanoi reacted to the epic Ken Burns 'Vietnam War' documentary series
Ken Burns' "Vietnam War" was released to relatively little noise in Vietnam. Here's a look at what audiences there had to say.
7 epic songs that prove 'Call of Duty' knows how to lay down tracks
Video game music has improved a lot since 8-bit days. A lot.
The Army is looking for ways to keep generals from misbehaving
Struggling with behavior problems among senior officers, the Army is putting together new mental health, counseling, and career management programs.
These are the heroics that earned this EOD Petty Officer a Silver Star
Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Bill Moran, recognized EOD 1st Class Thomas for his conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy.
This why the national anthem is played before sporting events
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson ordered that the "The Star-Spangled Banner" be played at all military ceremonies and other various occasions.
The Navy wants this drone to extend its fighter range beyond 1k miles
The Navy is exploring how to use unmanned aircraft to extend the range of fighter jets by 1,000 miles. The concept, at this time, is called the MQ-25 Stingray.
How the Pentagon plans to spend $700M to drop drones
ISIS has been using drones to drop bombs on Iraq Security Forces, and the Department of Defense is looking for a better defense against them.
THE MIGHTY SURVEY GIVE-AWAY
We want to hear your thoughts. Complete our survey for a chance to win 1 of 5 gaming consoles