Possible replacement of USAF UH-1N with UH-60M

Helicopters and tilt-rotor aircraft
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discofishing

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Unread post25 Jul 2011, 00:59

http://www.armytimes.com/news/2010/10/a ... saf_helos/

The Air Force is close to finalizing a sole-source deal to buy up to 93 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters from the U.S. Army, according to defense industry sources.

Air Force officials launched the effort to replace the service’s Vietnam War-vintage UH-1N Hueys with commercially available helicopters last year. From the beginning, the Air Force said it would make performance tradeoffs to keep costs down for what is called the Common Vertical Lift Support Platform.

Air Force pilots fly UH-1Ns over the service’s bases in Wyoming, North Dakota and Montana to monitor ICBM sites. The service also maintains Huey fleets at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., to airlift VIPs around Washington; and at Hurlburt Field, Fla., for special operations missions.

Service officials are proposing to buy the UH-60Ms without seeking competitive bids, a move they say will save money, according to the reports by Inside the Air Force and Citizens Against Government Waste.

DoD purchases must generally be offered for bids, but service officials say they can sole-source the Black Hawks under the Economy Act of 1932, which allows federal agencies to buy goods from other federal agencies without having to seek bids from companies.

Under the proposal, the Air Force would acquire the UH-60Ms from the Army, which has been buying UH-60 models since 1979. UH-60 helicopters are built by Sikorsky Aircraft, Stratford, Conn.

The Air Force, Air National Guard and Reserve fly a total of 101 HH-60 Pave Hawks, advanced versions of the Black Hawk also built by Sikorsky.

The Army is replacing its Hueys with 345 EADS-built UH-72 Lakotas in a multiyear contract estimated to cost $3 billion. The non-combat light utility aircraft passed 40,000 flight hours in operational service on Oct. 26.

Air Force officials said they have not made an official decision on the helicopter acquisition plan.

“At this time, the Air Force has not determined the acquisition strategy for CVLSP. All options are under review and no decisions have been finalized,” said Lt. Col. Wesley Miller, an Air Force spokesman.

The service expects to have the first six helicopters under CVLSP delivered by 2015, the target date for initial operational capability. Another 10 helicopters are due no later than Sept. 30, 2017.

Sikorsky spokesman Paul Jackson did not deny the report of the Air Force’s impending purchase, and said the UH-60M could do the job.

“If the Air Force is looking for a hot production aircraft with a proven U.S. military pedigree and multimission capabilities in all environments, while providing real value to the taxpayer, then we have it in the UH-60M,” Jackson said.

The word is getting out about the proposal, which was laid out in an acquisition decision memorandum sent to David Van Buren, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition.

“I have heard these things about the Economy Act, and a lot of people seem to be verifying that, both on the Hill and elsewhere,” said Dan Hill, the AgustaWestland North America vice president for strategy and federal business development. “To my knowledge, there hasn’t been an acquisition of this size or magnitude for any type of weapon system using the Economy Act of 1932.”

AgustaWestland has offered its AW139 medium twin-turbine helicopter to replace the Air Force’s Hueys.

The company, a subsidiary of Italy’s Finmeccanica group, is still waiting for an official response from the Air Force, Hill said.
Chopper requirements

The Air Force’s sources-sought notice requested the Huey replacement carry nine passengers or 3,195 pounds of cargo and cruise at a minimum of 135 knots for at least three hours without refueling at 6,500 feet.

A Huey cruises at roughly 100 knots and can carry up to 13 passengers.

AgustaWestland’s Hill noted that Sikorsky’s Black Hawk meets the requirements; indeed, he pointed out, it far exceeds some of them. The UH-60M carries 13 passengers and can fly at an averaging cruising speed of 151 knots at 4,000 feet.

Hill said Defense Secretary Robert Gates “is rightly a proponent of the 75 percent solution, and in my mind, going with something the size of the Black Hawk for the CVLSP mission is more like the 125 percent solution.”

Citizens Against Government Waste — a non-partisan watchdog group — also has taken issue with the Air Force’s pursuit of the Black Hawk to replace the Huey.

“Instead of having an open competition for a helicopter that meets the CVLSP requirements, the Air Force wants to cut corners and buy a bigger, more expensive helicopter from the Army. This would be like buying Humvees to replace mail trucks,” the watchdog group wrote on its website.


This seems like a logical choice for the USAF. They are basically buying more of the same basic aircraft they already have plenty of. The UH-1N is underpowered, slow, and just plain old. If the USAF wanted a competition for a replacement aircraft, I'm sure they would have asked for one.
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Unread post26 Jul 2011, 00:03

discofishing wrote:http://www.armytimes.com/news/2010/10/army_110110_usaf_helos/


This seems like a logical choice for the USAF. They are basically buying more of the same basic aircraft they already have plenty of. The UH-1N is underpowered, slow, and just plain old. If the USAF wanted a competition for a replacement aircraft, I'm sure they would have asked for one.



It's not whether USAF "wants" a competition or not, it's whether they have sufficient justification to not have one, since competitions is required in cases like this.

This non-competitive acquisition idea got shot down hard a while back. So they're probably going to compete the UH-60 , HH-47(!), AW139 or AW101, EC725 or AS532 and the UH-1Y, the latter offering the intriguing option of remanufacturing the existing UH-1Ns, depending on their condition.


USAF should have made its case better, emphasizing that the Blackhawks were already paid for by the taxpayer, explaining how this wasn't just paying for them twice, etc. Also they'd need to show the increased operating costs of the UH-60s relative to some of the other proposals (HH-47[?!]) was compensated for elsewhere.
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Unread post26 Jul 2011, 01:25

USAF should have made its case better, emphasizing that the Blackhawks were already paid for by the taxpayer, explaining how this wasn't just paying for them twice, etc. Also they'd need to show the increased operating costs of the UH-60s relative to some of the other proposals (HH-47[?!]) was compensated for elsewhere.


The Blackhawk transfer from the Army seems a bit confusing, but is probably what allows the USAF to avoid the competition.
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Unread post26 Jul 2011, 02:31

discofishing wrote:
USAF should have made its case better, emphasizing that the Blackhawks were already paid for by the taxpayer, explaining how this wasn't just paying for them twice, etc. Also they'd need to show the increased operating costs of the UH-60s relative to some of the other proposals (HH-47[?!]) was compensated for elsewhere.


The Blackhawk transfer from the Army seems a bit confusing, but is probably what allows the USAF to avoid the competition.


That's just the thing: USAF is not being allowed to avoid competition.
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Unread post26 Jul 2011, 08:13

That's just the thing: USAF is not being allowed to avoid competition.


I think USAF wishes to purchase Hawks from the Army under the Economy Act of 1932 so that they DO NOT have hold a competition. There is obvious challenge to this in Washington, lobbyists and special interest groups. The USAF already operates over 100 HH/MH-60s, why is there a need to have a competition for additional airframes. Logistics and training is already in place to maintain the new H-60s in addition to aircrew experience and technician familiarity. It makes perfect sense. The only other option I see that would work out well is perhaps upgrading the airframes to UH-1Y Venom standards. Some air frames might be too costly to upgrade, so they can pull from the USMC pool of UH-1N since the Marines are getting mostly brand new aircraft because of their operational needs.
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Unread post26 Jul 2011, 12:17

The government is broke yet insists on spending over budget money. Classic.
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Unread post26 Jul 2011, 23:52

madrat wrote:The government is broke yet insists on spending over budget money. Classic.


In the end, I don't see anything wrong with what they have. The Huey is a solid, reliable platform that gets the job done. If the USAF absolutely MUST have something better at a bargain, I recommend upgrading the airframes. All I could imagine is the need for more speed and range. The Huey seats enough people already.

- The first upgrade option would be to apply some components from the Bell 214 into the USAF UN-1N fleet. This would be a new rotor system and blades in addition to a Lycoming LTC4B-8D turboshaft, 2,930 shp replacing the 1,800 shp PW Twin Pack engine. I believe this would greatly improve cruising speed and yield a slight improvement in range.

- Option two would be a complete upgrade of the UH-1N to something similar to Canada's CH-146 (military Bell 412). This would greatly increase speed and range. The first 412 were upgraded to from 212s so I know Bell can upgrade the USAF N models.

- If more money becomes available, then upgrading the UH-1N to Y standard might not be a bad idea. This would give the aircraft Blackhawk-like performance in most situations and allow the aircraft to be used effectively in the middle east if needed. One thing the USAF could do to increase commonality with the Pavehawk fleet is to put the same engine in their UH-1Ys, it already uses the same series (T700). That's as easy as buying T700-GE-701C instead of T700-GE-401Cs used in the USMC aircraft.
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Unread post01 Sep 2011, 15:12

discofishing wrote:
madrat wrote:The government is broke yet insists on spending over budget money. Classic.


In the end, I don't see anything wrong with what they have. The Huey is a solid, reliable platform that gets the job done. If the USAF absolutely MUST have something better at a bargain, I recommend upgrading the airframes. All I could imagine is the need for more speed and range. The Huey seats enough people already.

- The first upgrade option would be to apply some components from the Bell 214 into the USAF UN-1N fleet. This would be a new rotor system and blades in addition to a Lycoming LTC4B-8D turboshaft, 2,930 shp replacing the 1,800 shp PW Twin Pack engine. I believe this would greatly improve cruising speed and yield a slight improvement in range.

- Option two would be a complete upgrade of the UH-1N to something similar to Canada's CH-146 (military Bell 412). This would greatly increase speed and range. The first 412 were upgraded to from 212s so I know Bell can upgrade the USAF N models.

- If more money becomes available, then upgrading the UH-1N to Y standard might not be a bad idea. This would give the aircraft Blackhawk-like performance in most situations and allow the aircraft to be used effectively in the middle east if needed. One thing the USAF could do to increase commonality with the Pavehawk fleet is to put the same engine in their UH-1Ys, it already uses the same series (T700). That's as easy as buying T700-GE-701C instead of T700-GE-401Cs used in the USMC aircraft.


Let's just say that you are wrong on several points here. The fact is there are more than simply speed and range requirements that the UH1XX cannot meet.....
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Unread post11 Feb 2013, 19:24

Please elaborate on how I was wrong. I'm curious.

"USAF Backs Off Of Nuke Support Helo Need"


http://www.military.com/daily-news/2013 ... 338&rank=9

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