Combat rescue helicopter cuts, according to the Air Force, lead to cost overruns

DAYTON, Ohio — The U.S. Air Force is preparing a report to Congress detailing a major cost overrun that resulted from its decision to cut its HH-60W cσmbαt rescue helicopter procurement by 38 aircraft.

The service planned to buy 113 new helicopters from aircraft manufacturer Sikorsky, owned by Lockheed Martin. However, the fiscal 2023 budget request revealed a plan to cap the fleet at 75 helicopters and study the future of the cσmbαt rescue mission.

Program officials told reporters this week the Air Force’s decision to reduce its HH-60W buy will drive up the unit cost of the helicopter enough to trigger a report to Congress. By law, programs that see a unit cost increase of 25% or more must get certification from the Secretary of Defense that the effort is essential to national security.

The process is called a Nunn-McCurdy Breach. Agnes Serenko, HH-60W program manager, told reporters during an Aug. 10 briefing at the Air Force’s Life Cycle Industry Day in Dayton, Ohio, the service is preparing a report on the program’s cost. She gave no further details about the cost growth.

The HH-60W was meant to replace the Air Force’s aging HH-60G cσmbαt rescue helicopter. The new variant can carry twice as much fuel as its predecessor and carries advanced flight navigation tools and defensive systems. The Air Force has already ordered 65 HH-60Ws and its fiscal year 2023 budget request included $870 million to buy the final 10.

The change in strategy comes as the Air Force rethinks the role that cσmbαt search and rescue aircraft will play in future wαrs, particularly as the U.S. military shifts its focus from the Middle East toward a possible conflict with China or Russiα.

Recovering downed pilots and other personnel will likely look different and require navigating more hostile, complex threat environments that aren’t well-suited for a helicopter. Officials from the Pentagon, Air cσmbαt Command, Air Force Research Laboratory and Air Force Materiel Command are considering what that new approach to cσmbαt search and rescue might look like and lawmakers have called for a report on the service’s vision.

The House version of the fiscal 2023 defense policy bill seeks details on how the service might perform the mission in different parts of the world and what capability gaps might stem from buying fewer HH-60Ws. Ed Stanhouse, deputy program executive officer for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and special operations forces, told reporters during the same Aug.

10 briefing the service is in the “exploration mode” as it considers the future of the mission. “The team is looking at a variety of technologies,” he said, noting that the service is considering the utility of unmanned platforms as well as higher speed aircraft that can “keep up with a fighter.”

Related Posts

75 years have passed since the first flight of the Spruce Goose, and it never flew again

The year 2022 was significant for a number of important anniversaries. Naturally, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the BMW M division. However, there is one…

The only helicopter carrier in the world that can hold F-35B

The first time fixed-wing aircraft have flown from a Japanese battleship since World War II occurred on October 3 when two Marine Corps F-35B Lighting II Joint…

The world is astounded by the new American superfighter jet

The world was astounded by this nation’s new superfighter jet. Developers seek to imbue well-known techniques with extra qualities that enhance their applicability. The advancement of military…

Each hour of flight in the SR-71 Blackbird cost $200,000

The SR-71 Blackbird was a long-range reconnaissance plane with remarkable performance characteristics: Mach 3 speed, and 85,000 service ceiling, and an 11,820 foot per minute rate of climb. The SR-71 was so fast that…

The Russian Tu-160, the largest and fastest supersonic bomber ever built, is bombing Ukraine

The Tu-160 Soviet-era bomber is still menacing Ukraine. This Russian titan even fired missiles at Kyiv recently. The Tu-160 was designed for a nuclear war with the United States, now it…

Whaoo! The A380 LANDING AIRBUS monster makes foes seem formidable due to its “smooth” flight

This might be the smoothest Airbus A380 landing I have ever seen. Would be nice to know if the passengers even felt any kind of impact while…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *