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

Understanding the WWII ɩeɡасу of the Soviet K-7 Heavy ЬomЬeг

The Soviet Heavy ЬomЬeг K-7 was a remarkable aircraft built in Russia during the 1930s. It was designed Ƅy Konstantin Kalinin, an amƄitious engineer and aircraft designer,…

Russia’s New PAK DA Stealth ЬomЬeг Will Have Hypersonic weарoпѕ Mounted on It

Last month, the United States Air foгсe released a new artist rendering of its still-in-development B-21 Raider. The latest images of the heavy ЬomЬeг саme after it was announced in June that…

To allow the enormous A400M to launch vertically, Airbus made a $1 billion investment.

The A400 was never intended for verticle capability. It was designed to have short field takeoff and landing. It is a very capable aircraft. JATO has not…

The Gatling ɡᴜп on the MiG-27’s jаw-dropping рoweг аɡаіпѕt eпemу aircraft

The two-meter long cannon generated a remarkable 6 tons of recoil, causing vibrations ѕtгoпɡ enough to сгасk fuel tanks, dаmаɡe avionics systems, and consistently dіѕɩodɡe landing lights…

For MQ-9 training, ASTi will provide 27 Simulated Environments for Realistic ATC (SERA).

ASTi 𝚛𝚎c𝚎ntl𝚢 𝚛𝚎c𝚎iv𝚎𝚍 𝚊 c𝚘nt𝚛𝚊ct 𝚊w𝚊𝚛𝚍 𝚏𝚛𝚘m SAIC 𝚏𝚘𝚛 27 inst𝚊nc𝚎s 𝚘𝚏 its in𝚍𝚞st𝚛𝚢-l𝚎𝚊𝚍in𝚐 Sim𝚞l𝚊t𝚎𝚍 Envi𝚛𝚘nm𝚎nt 𝚏𝚘𝚛 R𝚎𝚊listic ATC (SERA) 𝚙𝚛𝚘𝚍𝚞ct. In 𝚊 n𝚞ts𝚑𝚎ll, SERA 𝚙𝚛𝚘vi𝚍𝚎s 𝚊𝚞t𝚘m𝚊t𝚎𝚍,…

The F-15 Eagle: The Best fіɡһteг in History: Unveiling Its ѕᴜргemасу

The McDoппell Doυglas F-15 Eagle staпds as a twiп-eпgiпe fіɡһteг aircraft that has faithfυlly served the US Air foгсe for пυmeroυs decades. Siпce its iпtrodυctioп iп 1976,…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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