HASC Wants To Continue VH-71

by: Matthew Potter
June 19, 2009

Category: Business Line, Companies, Congress, Countries, Department of Defense, development program, Events, Federal Budget Process, Finemeccanica, Italy, Lockheed Martin, Military Aviation, Services, U.S. Navy | RSS 2.0

In their markup of the 2010 Defense Appropriations Bill the House Armed Services Committee added money for continued production of the F-22. It also recommended that the Navy and Defense Department continue production of the Increment One of the VH-71 New Presidential Helicopter.

They feel that this would be the best use of the over $3 billion already spent on the program. There is obviously still a requirement for this aircraft and a new program is planned. The HASC wants the first group of VH-71 to be used as “the normal transport for the President…” with other systems looked at for the more stringent requirements. Right now the President uses VH-3 for short range, normal duties and then longer ranged CH-53 and UH-60 for other missions. One of the problems faced by the VH-71 was the attempt to buy one aircraft to do all missions.

Finemeccanica had offered to just deliver Increment One aircraft at reduced price for the total program. Of course these did not meet all of the requirements that the Navy had levied. This was a major reason the program’s cost and schedule increased so much.

So far the HASC markup does not necessarily agree with the Obama Administration’s proposals in the area of the F-22 or the VH-71. The bill still needs to go through the process of other committee markups, the full House and Senate and then the Conference. This means that this language may or not make it to the final version but it does show support for the VH-71 program.

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