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Helicopter Troubles Traceable to Government Mistakes.



 
 
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  #1  
Old August 22nd 08, 10:01 PM posted to rec.aviation.rotorcraft,rec.aviation.military
Michel[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 5
Default Helicopter Troubles Traceable to Government Mistakes.

Helicopter Troubles Traceable to Government Mistakes.
http://lexingtoninstitute.org/1305.shtml

During its eight years in office, the Bush Administration has tried to
transform every facet of the military enterprise. In some areas, such
as joint cooperation against irregular threats, it has made real
progress. In other areas, it has failed miserably. The area where
failure seems most pronounced is weapons acquisition. Successes such
as the Stryker armored vehicle and GPS IIR satellite have been few and
far between. Most of the time, weapons programs end up over cost and
behind schedule.

A case in point is helicopters. During the cold war, helicopter
purchases were considered a relatively uncontroversial aspect of
military procurement. Not now. In the age of net-centric warfare,
even rotorcraft have gotten sucked into the "system-of-systems"
Sargasso Sea from which escape into serial production seems nearly
impossible. The standard media response when problems arise is to
blame contractors. But an examination of rotorcraft programs from
each service reveals that fault usually lies with the government.

The VH-71 presidential helicopter is a Navy-led effort to replace 19
aging rotorcraft used to transport the president with modern airframes
offering greater range, versatility and survivability. The need for
better helicopters became clear after 9-11, and the replacement
program was put on a fast track that cut normal development time
nearly in half. In 2005, the Lockheed Martin US101 was selected as
the airframe that could best reconcile all of the president's
requirements with the need to land in confined spaces. But White
House urgency collided with the Navy's unbending airworthiness
standards, and the result was a series of costly delays driving up the
price-tag of the program from about $7 billion to $11 billion. The
Navy now concedes it set unrealistic goals for VH-71 that no
contractor could have met, and that it needs to restructure the plan
to build the more challenging second increment of helicopters.

The CSAR-X combat search and rescue helicopter is an Air Force program
to replace HH-60G helicopters that are deficient in range, speed,
carrying capacity and other features. The Air Force is the only
service that maintains a fleet of search and rescue helicopters, which
retrieve an average of 100 warfighters per year from dangerous
locations. In 2006 the service selected a variant of the Boeing CH-47
Chinook as its replacement airframe, but losing competitors complained
that key performance differences had been overlooked and the Air Force
had incorrectly estimated life-cycle costs. The Government
Accountability Office partially upheld the protests, leading to a re-
competition. But one of the competitors (Lockheed) is saddled with an
inaccurate past-performance rating from the VH-71 effort that could
doom its attempt to get back in the game. The end result is that
fielding of a better helicopter has been delayed, and there are still
doubts whether the process correctly measures the merit of competing
airframes.

The ARH-70 armed reconnaissance helicopter is an Army program to
replace decrepit OH-58D helicopters in the battlefield reconnaissance
role. The program was begun in 2004 after the service canceled an
earlier reconnaissance helicopter called Comanche. ARH-70 has met all
of its key performance requirements, but Army managers complain it is
likely to cost more per airframe than planned. What they don't
mention is that the initial cost estimate was based on fast-track
modification of a commercial rotorcraft, and the service has insisted
on adding features beyond the scope of the original effort. Some Army
managers want to cancel ARH-70 the way they canceled Comanche, and
start over -- an approach sure to delay the delivery of better recon
into the field. Why they think that would be a good outcome for
soldiers is unclear.
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  #2  
Old August 23rd 08, 03:03 PM posted to rec.aviation.rotorcraft,rec.aviation.military
Stuart & Kathryn Fields
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 328
Default Helicopter Troubles Traceable to Government Mistakes.


"Michel" wrote in message
...
Helicopter Troubles Traceable to Government Mistakes.
http://lexingtoninstitute.org/1305.shtml

During its eight years in office, the Bush Administration has tried to
transform every facet of the military enterprise. In some areas, such
as joint cooperation against irregular threats, it has made real
progress. In other areas, it has failed miserably. The area where
failure seems most pronounced is weapons acquisition. Successes such
as the Stryker armored vehicle and GPS IIR satellite have been few and
far between. Most of the time, weapons programs end up over cost and
behind schedule.

A case in point is helicopters. During the cold war, helicopter
purchases were considered a relatively uncontroversial aspect of
military procurement. Not now. In the age of net-centric warfare,
even rotorcraft have gotten sucked into the "system-of-systems"
Sargasso Sea from which escape into serial production seems nearly
impossible. The standard media response when problems arise is to
blame contractors. But an examination of rotorcraft programs from
each service reveals that fault usually lies with the government.

The VH-71 presidential helicopter is a Navy-led effort to replace 19
aging rotorcraft used to transport the president with modern airframes
offering greater range, versatility and survivability. The need for
better helicopters became clear after 9-11, and the replacement
program was put on a fast track that cut normal development time
nearly in half. In 2005, the Lockheed Martin US101 was selected as
the airframe that could best reconcile all of the president's
requirements with the need to land in confined spaces. But White
House urgency collided with the Navy's unbending airworthiness
standards, and the result was a series of costly delays driving up the
price-tag of the program from about $7 billion to $11 billion. The
Navy now concedes it set unrealistic goals for VH-71 that no
contractor could have met, and that it needs to restructure the plan
to build the more challenging second increment of helicopters.

The CSAR-X combat search and rescue helicopter is an Air Force program
to replace HH-60G helicopters that are deficient in range, speed,
carrying capacity and other features. The Air Force is the only
service that maintains a fleet of search and rescue helicopters, which
retrieve an average of 100 warfighters per year from dangerous
locations. In 2006 the service selected a variant of the Boeing CH-47
Chinook as its replacement airframe, but losing competitors complained
that key performance differences had been overlooked and the Air Force
had incorrectly estimated life-cycle costs. The Government
Accountability Office partially upheld the protests, leading to a re-
competition. But one of the competitors (Lockheed) is saddled with an
inaccurate past-performance rating from the VH-71 effort that could
doom its attempt to get back in the game. The end result is that
fielding of a better helicopter has been delayed, and there are still
doubts whether the process correctly measures the merit of competing
airframes.

The ARH-70 armed reconnaissance helicopter is an Army program to
replace decrepit OH-58D helicopters in the battlefield reconnaissance
role. The program was begun in 2004 after the service canceled an
earlier reconnaissance helicopter called Comanche. ARH-70 has met all
of its key performance requirements, but Army managers complain it is
likely to cost more per airframe than planned. What they don't
mention is that the initial cost estimate was based on fast-track
modification of a commercial rotorcraft, and the service has insisted
on adding features beyond the scope of the original effort. Some Army
managers want to cancel ARH-70 the way they canceled Comanche, and
start over -- an approach sure to delay the delivery of better recon
into the field. Why they think that would be a good outcome for
soldiers is unclear.


After 27 years with engineering in support of DoD, and a short course in
"Weapons Systems Acqusition Managment" (WSAM) I became convinced that the
process is more important than the product. The WSAM spent very little time
with the project requirements and all of the time with the management
process. Apparently the belief is that you only need a requirements
document to start the management process and somehow or other the process
will produce whatever is needed; what ever that was. The main focus that I
found in project managers was the need to increase the size of the program,
thereby creating a justification for a higher position of power and salary.
A review of the history of the OV-10 development will show the fact that
beyond a certain project funding level, the "Carpetbaggers" are attracted
and will probably gain their power positions at the expense of the project.
See also "Agile" Missile system that had some good promise and the Verticial
seeking ejection seat that was successfully demonstrated in the 70's. Very
little research is required to find more examples. GAO as a review and
auditng function? They audited my group once to determin if it served a
usefull function. One of their key auditing functions was done by (I
watched this dumbfounded) measuring the volume of my groups file cabinets!!!


  #3  
Old August 23rd 08, 10:27 PM posted to rec.aviation.rotorcraft,rec.aviation.military
frank
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 105
Default Helicopter Troubles Traceable to Government Mistakes.

On Aug 23, 9:03*am, "Stuart & Kathryn Fields" wrote:
"Michel" wrote in message

*GAO as a review and
auditng function? *They audited my group once to determin if it served a
usefull function. *One of their key auditing functions was done by (I
watched this dumbfounded) measuring the volume of my groups file cabinets!!!


I'm not a fan of GAO, couple of reasons. My cousin, now deceased was
head engineer on Glomar Challenger. If you remember when we tried to
get the Russian sub up off the ocean floor, using the Glomar Explorer,
they looked almost identical. He got the Legion of Merit somehow.
Anyway, the Challenger was a National Science Foundation project to do
core samples from the ocean floor. Went and drilled all over the
place. Then cores were sent to NSF for analysis, storage and study.
GAO shut the project down as they only looked at so many centimeters
of core a year and they had thousands of feet of sample. So they had
enough to keep people busy. Ignoring the fact that a lot of the time
you have to drill down a certain distance to get the good stuff that a
geologist is looking for that was laid down so many millions of years
ago, depends on what you're researching. Which is why you collect core
samples.

When I got my MA, had GAO types show up and recruit. One of the things
that really got me was they would rotate out of different areas, say
Customs or DoD or Treasury every year or so. You never became an
expert in an area, just some sort of generalist who had no clue what
they were looking at, which seems to be the case here.

They also had a bizarre review system, the bottom 10% or something
were fired every review cycle. So you end up playing to the review and
being cut throat rather than doing your job. Seems GAO had come up
with this system as a Federal wide standard and nobody bought it, so
they implemented it themselves.

Maybe we can PCS them all to Iraq and leave them there. Then again,
there are a few others in government that ought to have that done to
them....

 




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