U.S. Army Wants New ARH Requirements by January

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The U.S. Defense Department’s cancellation of the Army’s Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) program has set off a flurry of activity within the service, reports Aviation Week.

The Army’s operations director, Lt. Gen. James Thurman, told reporters early Oct. 17 that he will do everything he can to push new requirements back to DOD’s high-level Joint Requirements Oversight Council by January 2009 and re-open competition for an aircraft.

“The Army has an enduring requirement [for manned, armed reconnaissance],” Thurman said at a hastily arranged Pentagon roundtable. “We will move as fast as possible to replace [the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior].”

Thurman promised that his “priority every day” will be to re-validate ARH requirements as quickly as possible so a new competition can commence. By Oct. 20 he will personally take a written document that pushes for a requirements review to the Training and Doctrine Command, he declared.

Pentagon acquisition chief John Young announced late Oct. 16 that he had decided not to re-certify ARH, which incurred a Nunn-McCurdy breach due to cost and schedule overruns. The announcement cited Bell’s cost estimates, which ballooned from $359 million for development to $942 million, and from $8.56 million per unit to $14.48 million. Deliveries originally scheduled for next year had slipped to 2013.

“This was not a surprise,” according to Lt. Gen. Ross Thompson, Army acquisition chief, who spoke at the roundtable. “All the triggers in the acquisition process have been pulled… We got to the point where [the Bell ARH] was no longer the right decision.”

Read the full article at Aviation Week

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