Can the Army's $2.8 Billion Program To Modernize the CH-47 Helicopter Be Improved?

PSAD-78-18: Published: Feb 24, 1978. Publicly Released: Feb 24, 1978.

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The Army has begun a program to modernize the CH-47 helicopter fleet to sustain its medium life helicopter capability through the 1990's. Program objectives are to significantly improve the reliability, availability, and maintainability of the aircraft which will result in lower operating and support cost, to increase the lift capability of the aircraft, and to standardize the configuration of the fleet.

The Army plans to modernize 361 aircraft and acquire about 190 new ones at a total estimated costs of $2.8 billion. While the Army plans to study alternative sources for accomplishing modernization, current plans call for the initial modernization contract to be awarded to the Vertol Division of Boeing Company without the benefit of competition. Estimated program costs have remained constant except for the application of inflation indices and a $3.4 million increase attributed to Boeing Vertol's reduced business base. The proposed modernization rate of three aircraft per month is not the most economical rate and will result in a lengthy (12-year) modernization rate. Development work is on schedule except for minor slippage relating to the engine and hydraulic systems. The Army's plan allows start-up of modernization without demonstrating that interim reliability goals have been achieved.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should: determine whether competition at the prime contractor level can be incorporated into the program, withhold approval to initiate modernization until interim reliability goals have been achieved, and evaluate the proposed modernization rate of three aircraft per month.

    Agency Affected:


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