Home » News » Acquisition Reform » Who Could Bid to Replace the Air Force’s UH-1 Hueys?

Who Could Bid to Replace the Air Force’s UH-1 Hueys?

by John Reed on March 17, 2011

So, it’s looking more and more likely that the Air Force will hold a competition to replace its fleet of about 90 UH-1N Huey choppers. For a while there the Air Force was hell-bent on buying a chopper with zero competition. But Air Force Secretary Michael Donley seems to have finally killed that idea.

From DoDBuzz:

Air Force Secretary Mike Donley told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he is “absolutely sure competition will be involved” in the the purchase of the Common Vertical Lift Support Platform.

Since this is the case we here at DT thought we’d take a look at the likely candidates to replace the service’s Vietnam-era utility birds under the Common Vertical Lift Support (CVLSP) program.

First, let’s take a look at what the service says it wants in the new helicopters:

The helo must be able to cruise at about 100 knots, carry up to 13 passengers (depending on the situation), have protection from 7.62 mm weapons fire, electro-optical and infrared sensors, infrared countermeasures, secure satellite communications, be night vision goggle compatible and be able to carry enough weapons of its own to mow down several infantry squads worth of enemy troops.

But wait, there’s more. It’s also got to be able to carry nine passengers or 3,100 pounds of gear while flying at 135 knots at 6,500 feet. Oh, and it has to be able to stay airborne for at least three hours at that altitude.

So, who are the potential bidders?

Well, there’s the obvious one. The Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk. It’s in production right now, meets the requirements, the Air Force knows how to maintain it and the service could combine the CVLSP-buy with its plan to replace its lost and worn out HH-60 Pave Hawk rescue choppers. Air Force brass repeatedly expressed interest in buying these choppers from the Army and outfitting them for the CVLSP mission with no competition using something called the economy act of 1932 as justification. Now, however, it looks like Sikorsky will have to battle it out in a competition.

Next is AgustaWestland’s AW139M. The M model is a modified version of the AW139 chopper and could be built on the existing AW139 production line in Philadelphia, it meets the requirements and Agusta officials claim that it was purpose-built to replace the Huey and that it can be delivered quickly.

Next up; EADS subsidiary Eurocopter who is rumored to be considering offering a version of its Cougar chopper. This is a new version of an old design (the venerable Puma) and the company would have to establish a production facility here in the U.S. Still, EADS does build the U.S. Army’s Huey replacement, the UH-71 Lakota at a small plant in Mississippi. Who knows what it would cost to enlarge that facility to build the much larger Cougars. I’m guessing they’d be pretty pricey. Then again, look at how EADS was confident it could bid a very aggressive price with its bigger, newer A330-based tanker versus Boeing’s 767-based design in KC-X.

And speaking of modified versions of old designs. Let’s take a look at Bell, who might very well offer its UH-1Y Venom. A vast improvement over the UH-1N with 125 percent more cargo capacity than the UH-1N and nearly 50 percent greater range and speed over the older Hueys. It’s in production and is proving itself in combat with the Marines right now. Still, it’s a bit on the small side.

And finally, I’ve even heard rumors that Boeing may offer it’s giant CH-47 Chinook. This just seems like overkill for the mission. Although, if there happens to be a competition to replace the HH-60 fleet, this bird could have a shot. Especially since it won a round of the original CSAR-X contest years ago, I mean, buying more of them would help drive costs down. It’s super fast, can carry plenty of cargo and the latest versions of it keep rolling off Boeing Philadelphia production line. Still, it’s huge and strikes me as a bit overkill for the job of patrolling missile fields and ferry VIPs around Washington. And keep in mind, bigger, more powerful choppers often equal more cash.

Anything else you’d like to see in the competition? Sound off in the comments. Oh, and anyone recognize who that is sitting in the back of that Huey pictured above? C’mon, it’s almost too easy.

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{ 102 comments… read them below or add one }

jamesb101 March 17, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Drop the foreign guys….People

Congress will NOT approve them……
Just give the damn contract to Sikorsky….

What completion?

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j_meyer March 18, 2011 at 1:55 am

Simple: apply a bit of pressure to the domestic vendors to make their offers cheaper. I think that is really needed

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Phillip Carson August 19, 2011 at 7:45 am

UH-1Ns are fine aircraft. I say let the USAF keep them. Maybe give them a Bell 214 upgrade, but that's it. Civilians use the Bell 214 in way harsher climates doing way more demanding tasks and their birds are holding up. There's not a damn thing wrong with the UH-1N in this mission.

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Jim February 19, 2012 at 3:37 am

I agree – production should be American made – using American companies. No more billion dollar contracts going to Brazil….

And with American made computer chips to avoid another China induced fiasco…

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STemplar March 17, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Pretty easy if there is any common sense in the universe. Not a real overly complex missions set of reqs, all proven systems that are more than capable of meeting the reqs, so whichever one costs the least. Pretty simple from here on planet Earth where the po folk live.

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Thomas L. Nielsen March 18, 2011 at 3:02 am

"…..if there is any common sense in the universe."

I think I see the problem…

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg

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theman March 17, 2011 at 4:03 pm

You forgot the inevitable bid from US Aerospace-Antonov!

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brian March 17, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Perhaps we should consider a new design, so that we have upgrade path from the Blackhawk, though I doubt we have the money for it.

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Chris Rapp March 17, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Depends on what you want to do.

Blackhawk or Huey if you want to cut down on logistics and supply a little bit. Even the Westland AW139M since it's used by other government agencies (Coast Guard, etc) would help cut that down.

I don't see the Chinook winning – way overkill.

I don't think the Huey will win because it may be considered 'old.' Plus it's used by the Marines and they always get the old shit.

The Blackhawk is a toss up – no ideas.

I could see the Puma winning because EADs lost the tanker round. Plus with a new plant being built somewhere or even an addition in Mississippi, more money for US politics.

Westland could also possibly win with it's chopper. Oddly, it does make a version of the Chinook for Italy, the Apache, and has it's own tilt-rotor. I don't know enough about them to say either way.

I say Puma.

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FormerDirtDart March 17, 2011 at 5:34 pm

The US Coast Guard doesn't fly any AW139s, and to my knowledge, never has. They did use, under lease, the AW109 for a while (completely different a/c) but no longer do.

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paratus March 17, 2011 at 11:20 pm

I believe the AW139 was selected by the USCG as a part of Deepwater until the whole Deepwater program got cancelled. i wish we still had those 109s for HITRON. they were butt kicking fast and maneuverable.

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Chris Rapp March 18, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Ah, my bad. Wish there was an edit button lol.

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Guest March 18, 2011 at 2:05 pm

This article is about them replacing the old Huey, and the UH-1Y is a completely new helicopter. So no, it is not old by any means. It is one of the newest helicopters in the military.

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Marcase March 17, 2011 at 5:54 pm

It's Schwarz in the back.

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PrometheusGoneWild March 17, 2011 at 6:21 pm

I understand that these old helicopters must go right about now, but I wish they could wait until a larger version of Sikorsky's X2 technology could be put together.
Lets face it. the X2 technology makes all other designs obsolete.
Granted many of these platforms talked about have proven track records and all the bugs worked out.
But the X2 technology is much faster and has much farther range.
Considering we actually use the equipment and put people in harms way with it, it would just be nice to see the military push forward with a better design.

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Terry March 20, 2011 at 3:44 am

Still not as fast or nearly developed as Bell's 609.

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chaos0xomega March 17, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Maybe US Aerospace should try teaming up with Mil, I'm pretty sure the Mi-24 (or perhaps one of the numerous upgraded variants out there) meets these specs, and looks damn sexy doing it….

Stick some upgraded engines in there, re-engineer the passenger compartments armor/safety features a bit, and provided you don't arm our enemy with quality MANPADS, you'll have a pretty good quality helo on your hands, capable of CSAR (literally), easily capable of mowing down more than a few infantry squads, maybe even an armored column or two. Can even be used as a CAS/attack platform when things get rough, and can stick around long enough to do all sorts of wonderful things…

I can dream…

In regards to X2 technology, Mil already has that down pat (latest generation of Russian attack helos are coaxial rotors), so Sikorsky shouldn't be far behind…

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blight March 17, 2011 at 11:27 pm

I think the Russians were disappointed with their all-in-one Hind, which is why their future helicopters skewed towards gunships; and they continue to make the Hips to this day.

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chaos0xomega March 18, 2011 at 1:09 am

Not to derail discussion, but everything I've ever managed to read concerning the Hind showed it to be a very capable aircraft.

The main issues with the aircaft were that the pilots preferred flying without the extra weight associated with carrying a squad of 8 guys plus their equipment. The extra weight decreased their range, speed, and agility, making it harder for the craft to dodge incoming fire, and thus not only endangering the lives of the pilots, but also of the passengers. The Hind was rather well protected, so this wouldn't ordinarily be an issue, but many units removed the armor/protection systems from the passenger compartment to further reduce weight, meaning that they were more vulnerable than they otherwise would be. Really, it seems like most of the obsession over the extra weight was due to the fact that they were operating at higher altitude because of the mountainous terrain in Afghanistan.

The other major issues were mostly environmental. The sand/dust wreaked havoc on the engines until proper filters were developed. The engines also ran hot which made them Stinger bait. Heatsinks were installed that helped reduce this problem (though its not fully fixed), but I think the same could be said of a lot of helos.

It seems that groundpounders absolutely loved them, of that I am certain. They were capable of providing 'death on call' for periods much longer than any of the Russian fast mover jets, and because they were so heavily armed and armored, they could be used to extract squads that were under heavy fire.

Also, from what I've been able to gather, the Hind is still in production today (much like the Hip).

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blight March 18, 2011 at 7:23 am

It does sound like I meant that the Hind sucked performancewise, but in Afghanistan they never ended up maximizing the gunship/transport aspect of things. To be fair, it's a lot of the same tradeoffs we find with IFVs. Can you fight with troops aboard? When do you dismount before attacking?

I guess to the Soviets it seemed a bit of a hassle, and only sporadically useful so they ended up going with pure gunship/pure transport.

I think they still make the hind, along with its export variant (Mi-35?)

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Terry March 20, 2011 at 3:46 am

Isn't Sikorsky Russian?

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blight August 19, 2011 at 8:37 am

Igor Sikorsky was a Russian, and founded Sikorsky in the US in '23.

If there was no Russian revolution, it makes you wonder what would have happened in Russia.

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Phillip Carson August 19, 2011 at 7:28 am

Blackhawks can be armed with the same weapons systems the Apache has and then some. Why mentioned the Hind?

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Will March 17, 2011 at 7:52 pm

The UH-60 has engines that are about 25% more powerful than the ones on both the AW-139M & the UH-1Y. If this is going to be used in combat, that horsepower translates into more flexibility (and higher operating costs). You go the route of something like the X2 & you're likely talking 10 years & billions on development . This is 90 birds. Don't make this harder – and more expensive – than it has to be.

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jd gunz March 17, 2011 at 10:01 pm

The 60 has the same engines as the new uh-1y jury. T700 GE
Engines, the same ones in the cobra and abram tanks. The
UH-1Y is a beast, and don’t let this old Marine skid kid change
your mind.

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blight March 17, 2011 at 11:22 pm

The T700 is used with a fair number of aircraft, which suggests future consolidation of aircraft to make common engines.

Abrams uses a Honeywell turbine.

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Anonymous March 17, 2011 at 11:12 pm

hey Will, why did the USAF exclude the H-60 from consideratonfor the original CSAR competition? it was absolutely inadequate. so why is it suddenly the best aircraft for the combined mission (CSAR/CVLSP)? maybe the AF doesn't really have a CSAR mission any more?

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blight March 17, 2011 at 8:03 pm

The choice /should/ be simple.

Blackhawk type helicopter, which is already used by the Air Force and the Army, or a Huey-type helicopter like the UH-1Y in use by the Navy and Marines. Make a choice and move on. They need to stop trying to buy new helicopters for everything.

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chaos0xomega March 17, 2011 at 10:54 pm

By that logic, we could also go Hind, used by the US Army (and I've seen word that the Air Force has the Mi-35 model as well) for aggressor training.

WHAT!? I can dream!!

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blight March 17, 2011 at 11:26 pm

That logic would apply if we had a large parts train for the Hind.

We might as well go presidential helicopter for the Air Force because we have /nine/ to your Hinds…ha ha.

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chaos0xomega March 17, 2011 at 11:27 pm

AFAIK, VXX wouldn't meet a lot of the CSAR-X and CVLSP requirements… ;)

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blight March 18, 2011 at 7:24 am

But it could transport them in luxury! :D

Anonymous March 18, 2011 at 10:36 am

Funny you would claim that about the VXX because the Brits and the Italians are using the same aircraft (AW101) for CSAR in Iraq and Afghanistan. Have been for years with a lot of success.

Read it for yourself in th MCAA magazine how they have been operating with the Marines: http://www.usmc.mil/unit/3rdmaw/Pages/UK,USjointo

Crash Hawk March 20, 2011 at 4:01 am

Yeah, we should have just keep adding more horses to the covered buggy! Why bring anything new into the inventory? Just keep using 40 year old technology.

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Smashquail March 17, 2011 at 8:17 pm

The Blackhawk is a great platform. I could be biased, but they would do well to replace them with a Sikorsky product.

The Huey just needs to be retired all together. It's old technology.

If they do end up choosing a foreigh product, that Puma would do the trick. I, for one, do not think the U.S. military should support foreign companies for something as huge as an aviation contract.

While the Chinook would be awesome, they are much too big to be practical.

Edit: Also, keep in mind, most foreign helicopters have rotars that spin the other way. This could lead to problems in emergencies with pilots who are used to flying American helicopters. Of course, that's nothing a little training can't solve…

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blight March 17, 2011 at 9:42 pm

If the bits inside are up-to-date and they use a new frame then there shouldn't be anything inherently wrong with the UH-1.

Hey, what about the Osprey? Haha.

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Riceball March 18, 2011 at 10:17 am

What's a rotar?

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Smashquail March 18, 2011 at 1:49 pm

It's like a "rotor", but foreign. ;) My bad….

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tomatojuice March 17, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Thought that the "Venoms" that are being currently produced are actually on new frames, no upgrading exisiting platforms.

So they might have a shot.

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jd gunz March 17, 2011 at 10:06 pm

You’re right, they are. They tried using the original airframes nut found that after the mod to it, started to get cracks in critical areas.

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rotor March 17, 2011 at 11:05 pm

why use a $25M blackhawk for a non-combat, non deploying CONUS support mission just for convienience? The Army faced with a similar mission intentionally moved away from the blackhawk and chose the Lakota, which was fielded on schedule and budget, and operates at a fraction of the cost of a blackhawk. Just because its in the inventory, doesn't mean its the right tool for the job. i have flown as a pilot in the military, all the American made helicopters in the inventory, and it is an arrogant mistake to think that only american helos are the best, and have the best products for our military. Thanks to the V22 drying up R&D resources for almost 20 years, many non-US helps are a generation ahead. check it out for yourselves….

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blight March 17, 2011 at 11:24 pm

Wow, I forgot that the Lakota was in inventory!

Ironically, the Army chose it to replace /their/ Hueys. Which begs the question of why can't the air force.

Hmm…

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chaos0xomega March 17, 2011 at 11:32 pm

This is undoubtedly true. All kidding aside, the latest generation of Russian attack helo's are nothing to scoff at.

As for the Lakota, it would make sense, but it doesn't meet the requirement of being armed (AFAIK).

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William C. March 18, 2011 at 9:24 am

They have no really advantage over the Block III AH-64D.

The UH-72 Lakota is a useful light utility helicopter for work in the US. However it seems the USAF needs something a bit heavier.

The US Army has replaced all of their Hueys (the National Guard may still have some however) with a mix of Blackhawks and Lakotas. It may make sense for the USAF to do the same based on their needs.

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mike j March 17, 2011 at 11:39 pm

Re: "why use a $25M blackhawk for a non-combat, non deploying CONUS support mission…"

If you read the RFI, it's clear they want a combat-capable aircraft (I had trouble finding the full text just now, so you may have to dig). They're concerned they'll have to defend or recapture a missile silo, or similar.

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EJ257 March 18, 2011 at 8:52 am

Recapture a missile silo?? If that is the case wouldn't it be prudent to go in with AH-64s to clear the way and secure the area before sending in the ground troops?

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REALLY March 18, 2011 at 10:23 am

Read what CVLSP spends 99% of thier time doing . Logistics and maintenance support, visual inspections, and presence as a deterence. They have never been engaged and supported the mission with un-armed hueys for more than 30 years…..

Re-capture a missile silo…REALLY??? If the AF were honestly concerned about incursions and the ability to actually breach the tons of a concrete slab, why are a majority of them unmanned?

These guys biggset threat to their mission is weather and elevation, and there are several helicopters with more capability in those arenas than the blackhawk, and are mcuh cheaper to acquire and operate.

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mike j March 18, 2011 at 1:30 pm

This is right out of the RDT&E Project Justification:

"A. Mission Description and Budget Item Justification

The Common Vertical Lift Support Platform (CVLSP) core missions are to provide nuclear weapon convoy escort, 24/7 adverse weather capable InterContinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) emergency security response/operational support, and mass passenger transport/Operational Support Airlift (OSA) in the National Capital Region. Other assigned missions include Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) OSA, survival school support, test and range support, and combat aviation advisor training."

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REALLY March 18, 2011 at 2:48 pm

The " justification" is the same as what I posted except mine was in english and realistic, not to impress congress or DOD leadreship so they don't cut funding.

Again from in operators parlance "99% logistic and security support missions in peoples' backyards and Washington D.C" non-combat coded. How did they ever survive the last +30 years with unarmed Hueys ?

Anonymous March 19, 2011 at 7:24 am

The other advantage to using a Blackhawk variant is that it could provide a solution to the manning and deployment problems plaguing the CSAR community. Common airframe means a broader range of assignments and rotation in and out of mobility taskings. It would be expensive vice a Huey-2 but it may be the best way to solve the problem.

Milan March 18, 2011 at 12:07 am

In my point of view the Huey is a pretty good bird and ridden on it a few times. I would trust it with my life during combat time.

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Jake March 18, 2011 at 12:13 am

Why not the UH-72 Lakota? I mean that it what is replacing the Army's UH-1's and OH-58's state side.

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FormerDirtDart March 18, 2011 at 12:30 am

Probably because of basic math. 8<13

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asdf March 18, 2011 at 5:35 am

what?

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asdf March 18, 2011 at 5:35 am

the lakota has an armed derivative – armed combat scout contestant.

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FormerDirtDart March 18, 2011 at 10:10 am

That's nice. But, the Air Force isn't looking for an armed derivative, now are they?

FormerDirtDart March 18, 2011 at 10:08 am

One of the Air Force's requirements is to carry up to 13 passengers (2 pilots & 11 guys in back; 2x crew members[door gunners?]; 9x. Security Forces). The UH-72 doesn't. It only carries 10.

The author's use of "13 passengers" threw me off, since crew members generally aren't seen as "passengers". I looked up the RFI to see what the actual requirements are.

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Belesari March 18, 2011 at 1:14 am

Just go with the venom makes the cost per aircraft go down slightly and the logistics are already on hand as well as training.

And in 5 to 10 years when the airforce demands a super stealthy, superfast, super powerful helicopter to replace them the marines will get new only slightly used Venoms :)

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Anonymous March 18, 2011 at 10:24 am

Except the VENOM is more expensive than a UH060M……

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Belesari March 18, 2011 at 4:48 pm

And how many people use the UH60M? I think last count is over 2,000 made.

There is so far only going to be 100 or so Venoms.

I really dont care. The airforce always needs some new toy. Just dont make a entirely new helicopter for the job. Blackhawks or Venoms either is fine.

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j_meyer March 18, 2011 at 1:53 am

Has anyone an idea why Eurocopter would offe the Cougar? It seems a bit too large, whereas the NH-90 seems to be the perfect fit. It is cheaper and more modern than the Cougar.

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asdf March 18, 2011 at 5:34 am

the cougar is a mature platform, where the nh90 carries more development risk (other contestants, like the black hawk, don't) have the same risk). it would be nice though to see the nh90 in service.

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Huey CC March 18, 2011 at 8:58 am

Were talking 90 non-combat birds here. We already have enough budget problems, buy either the Y modle Huey or the HH60. Then in 5 or 10 years start getting the Sikorsky's X2 on line.

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Ontos March 18, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Exactly. If it's going to replace H-1's and a substantial portion of the the training and maintenance could roll over into the new airframe, go Venom. If it would be cheaper and simpler to transition to the H-60, go with it. Seems the Air Force is making the process more difficult than it needs to be.

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jamesb101 March 18, 2011 at 9:11 am

I know I'm repeating myself……

But the Lokota fits perfectly….
And on time…
And budget…
Forget that…
We don't like that…..

Look for a Bell 412 or Blackhawk replacement….
X-2?
Come on….Like someone said above take what you got….
Not what ain't even in diapers yet…

In todays political climate NO foreign bird is gonna make the cut….

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Chestk March 18, 2011 at 10:29 am

I live in Philly, and AW has a large helicopter plant in Philly. So, I get tired of people bashing AW as a "foriegn predator" when they are responsible for +500 jobs in our area alone……. how does that hurt our economy again, by creating MORE jobs?

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jamesb101 March 18, 2011 at 2:14 pm

I made the same point on the AW101….

I still falls on deaf ears…..

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William C. March 18, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Going by the specifications the USAF want I have to disagree. The UH-72 is a perfect replacement for the UH-1 in the light utility role, but it looks like the USAF just wants another general purpose workhorse like the Huey and the Blackhawk fits that bill best. Although perhaps somebody will offer a better deal.

Personally I think it should be either the UH-1Y or UH-60M for the sake of commonality.

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jamesb101 March 18, 2011 at 2:18 pm

the UH-72 will be consisterd foreign…Congress will NOT go for it as things stand today…
Which is to darn bad…

You and I agree …It would do the mission..come in on budget..on time ….
AND be made in the US….

That won't be enough I would think…
Wrong country of origin…..

(What are they gonna do with the 9 brand spanking new AW101's?)

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Rotor March 18, 2011 at 10:29 am

There is no military version of the S-92.

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Gregory Savage March 18, 2011 at 11:22 am

h-92, what are you talking about mr expert?

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Rotor March 18, 2011 at 11:25 am

Expert. Where is it operating ? Stratford, Conn. Perhaps?

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Rotor March 18, 2011 at 11:35 am

Expert hmmmm. Where is the H-92 in service exactly? Stratford, Conn. perhaps?? Certainly can't claim they are in service in Canada??

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Anonymous March 18, 2011 at 11:49 am

How are things up in Stratford Greg?

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Stan March 18, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Canada is recieving the military version of S-92 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikorsky_CH-148_Cycl

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Bill March 18, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Stan-Sikorsky just had to pay millions in fines becasue they can't deliver the H-92 on time, and are only able to provide the S-92 in meantime as an interim aircraft until they figure out how to fix the drive train. I just don't want the USAF to make the same mistake.

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jamesb101 March 18, 2011 at 2:20 pm

http://www.eurocopterusa.com/news_features/2009/0

The Lakota's get high marks also….

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Tiger One March 18, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Gee, I hope they don't give the contract to China, or some other foreign country!

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Brad March 18, 2011 at 3:31 pm

CH-47 would be the best replacement…

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blight March 18, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Chinooks aren't the most survivable birds. Roberts Ridge has demonstrated that much. If you armor them up, then it eats into weapons, which eat into fuel, eating into range…

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Crash Hawk March 20, 2011 at 4:23 am

Cost…Cost…Cost…not in this political climate.

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Matt March 18, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Im hoping for AW139M…

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Ripberger March 19, 2011 at 4:26 am

Could a modified, heavily-armed version of the V-22 Osprey work? That is, if it is possible to add front and possibly side weapons to it? The Wikipedia article on it mentioned that Ospreys with front turrets were being used in Afghanistan (if you can believe Wikipedia, anyway).

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asdf March 19, 2011 at 1:37 pm

x2 would be WAY better imo. the front turret is clumsy afaik. well, perhaps with advanced thermals not.

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asdf March 19, 2011 at 1:33 pm

but weak floor can be easily fixed (it adds more weight though) and those were prototypes afaik. too bad.

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TinfoilHatter March 23, 2011 at 11:41 am

Missile field support should be a cost plus contract for Columbia Helicopters, PHI, or the like to operate, maintain and man the existing helicopters.

Serious consideration needs to be given to the wartime requirement of the VIP support mission in Washington.

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Helo 1 March 31, 2011 at 11:21 am

The writer of the artical was clearly not well informed before writting the report ! EADS has a great track record and can produce an aircraft on time and on budget. I think the clear choice is a military version of the EC-175 or the EC-145. Rember on time and on budget! This is not something the military has seen in a while! And they will be built in the U.S.A. by AMERICAN Eurocopter. The second choice would be the Black Hawk Mike Model.

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Operator April 28, 2011 at 4:34 am

All right. The 92 and 101 can’t get delivered on time, the Chinook is too big and expensive, and the Lakota is too small. See the requirements listed above. As to contracting missile support out and eliminating the DC mission, Tinfoilhatter is luckily non in charge and obviously doesn’t understand the mission. The missile support is more than ferrying parts and personnel, its about defending nuclear warheads. The DC mission is also more. From globalsecurity.org, the 1st HS has provides local airlift for the Executive Department, high-ranking dignitaries, and distinguished visitors, as well as support for emergency evacuation of key government officials. It is also tasked with search and rescue and emergency medical evacuation. If he truly understaood both zero-fail missions, he’d probably be singing a different tune. The 1st has done ALL of its mission, incuding emergency evacuation, and the missile squadrons have been called on for many of their missions and to augment other missions. Finally, their manning IS supporting the war and being deployed.

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Phillip Carson August 19, 2011 at 7:41 am

The best overall choice in my opinion would be the UH-60M. The most expensive would probably be the CH-47F. The least expensive would be to upgrade the same airframes to Bell 214 standards.

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blight August 19, 2011 at 8:35 am

Upgrade or buy new airframes? If there's a ton of hours on the airframes, it may be easier to buy new ones…

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DW May 9, 2013 at 12:05 pm
DW May 9, 2013 at 12:05 pm
leesea March 18, 2011 at 12:02 pm

IF there is NO combat mission involved, AND if the S-92 meets the peformance spces set by USAF, then why can't an S92 be bid in?
I believe there was a mil-version offered in for CSAR-X?

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chaos0xomega March 18, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Yeah, but the brits and the italians might not have the same requirements for their CSAR aircraft, and that doesn't take into account the requirements for CVLSP, which from the sounds of it the Air Force is trying to find a one bird fits all solution.

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Anonymous March 18, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Maybe the USAF doens't have a real CSAR mission anymore if they can share the same requirement set as a non combat, logistic and security support mission? The UH-60 wasn't even considered for the first CSAR competition because it was so inadaquate. So how did it suddenly become SO adequate? Either the CSAR requirements have been so watered down because they don't have a real mission any longer or becasue they don't care what the operator gets? You can't have it both ways.

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Anonymous March 18, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Your right. Even thought the aircraft has been operating in afghanistan and has 3 engines, it can't possibly do what CSAR needs…. It competed the first time till they chose the Chinook.

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mike j March 18, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Hey, know what? I agree, they're probably inflating the requirement some. But night/ all-weather ops capability and "mass passenger transport" do suggest a larger machine, even if the combat related kit is gold plating.

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mike j March 18, 2011 at 3:23 pm

I tend to agree, they're probably inflating the requirement. But even if the combat related kit is gold-plating, night/ all-weather capability and mass passenger transport suggest one of the bigger birds. The UH-72 (for example, 'cause it's getting mentioned a lot here) doesn't meet the requirement off-the-shelf.

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mike j March 19, 2011 at 5:59 am

I agree that they're most likely inflating the requirement. Even if you cut the combat related bits out, having all-weather and mass-passenger transport capability points to one of the larger designs. UH-72, for example, probably can't cut it.

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chaos0xomega March 18, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Look I dunno what your deal is, but its pretty clear the VXX doesn't meet spec. Its not armed, it can't carry 2 pilots, plus 2 door gunners, plus 9 security forces guys, its loaded up with super advanced comms equipment that they don't need, and it costs like 400 million dollars a copy. Get over yourself.

As for 'maybe the USAF doesn't have a real CSAR mission anymore if they can share th same requirement set as a non combat, logistic, and security support mission', did you miss the part where they said they wanted an ARMED aircraft capable of withstanding 7.62mm rounds minimum?

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Terry March 20, 2011 at 4:17 am

Solve manning problems with buying an expensive helicopter doesn't seem to make sense to me. Fix the MANNING issue, but don't use an expensive Band-Aid. Also, flight training and mission training are two vastly different things. Don't oversimplify this by saying lets use the same thing for everything concept.

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shon.dingman April 26, 2011 at 7:34 pm

@ Chaos
You know that the VXX is based on the AW101 right?
Because the Mk.3a version of the AW101 can have up to 5 door/window gunners. And yes it can easily hold 9 additional troops, some configurations can hold up to 30 seated soldiers.

It is a shame we can't build the AW101 for a reasonable price here in America.

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