Thursday, December 20, 2018

CH-53K slipping a year because of technical issues?

via Time
The Defense Contract Management Agency estimates flight testing won’t be complete until May 2020, or five months after the scheduled time to declare the helicopter has an initial combat capability.

The Navy’s current budget plan calls for buying 61 of the helicopters through 2023, with annual procurement spending rising to $2.3 billion from $1.3 billion this year. In the next five-year plan for fiscal 2020 through fiscal 2024, the service is tentatively proposing to buy 10 fewer of the copters than planned and to reduce procurement funding over that period by as much as $1.2 billion. The figures could change before the president’s budget is presented in February.

James Geurts, the Navy’s top weapons buyer, “remains concerned and is closely monitoring cost, schedule and performance as lots of work remains,” his spokesman, Captain Danny Hernandez, said in a statement.

Bill Falk, Sikorsky’s program director for the CH-53K, said in an email that the company has fully staffed the flight test team “with our most experienced and seasoned engineers, pilots, maintainers and support staff.” The Navy and Sikorsky are “laser-focused on successfully executing and completing the test program in a safe and efficient manner to deliver the King Stallion” and “support operational deployment in 2023-2024,” he said.

Delays for the King Stallion, the first major acquisition program given a go-ahead by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, may make it a prime candidate for congressional scrutiny as Democrats take control of the House in the new year.

Democrat members of the House Armed Services Committee’s air and land forces panel aggressively questioned the Marine Corps last year on the helicopter’s unit cost, an indication the troubled program will come under stronger scrutiny under the full committee’s incoming chairman, Representative Adam Smith.

The current projected unit acquisition cost, including development, is $139.5 million per aircraft, according to the latest Navy acquisition report. That’s 20 percent more than the baseline set in 2005. A 1982 law would require notifying Congress if the overrun reaches or exceeds 30 percent of the baseline.
Story here.

Wow.  Just freaking wow.

Sikorsky is broken.  Back in the day this wouldn't have happened.  As soon as they found themselves under Lockheed Martin's wing they've failed to execute.

Is the problem Sikorsky?  They're screwing up with the Defiant too.

Is the problem Lockheed Martin?  Won't even touch the burning hot stove today.

Or is the problem Marine Air Acquisitions allowed substandard aircraft to inch toward the finish line instead of crushing it early?

I've been digging for the quote on the Harrier from long ago.  A General told a couple of Colonels that were to testify before Congress to tell them that the Harrier is perfect...just what we need and that we'll fix it after we get it.

Is that legacy alive and well in Marine Air Acquisitions?

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