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Latest Hueys, Cobras make huge strides

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Latest Hueys, Cobras make huge strides


Find Marine Corps Times article here.


Helos offer more power, technology upgrades

By Gidget Fuentes - Staff writer

Posted : Sunday Jan 4, 2009 8:37:58 EST


CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — At a distance, the new UH-1Y helicopters look similar to those born during the Vietnam era, but the four-blade Huey, which Marines call the “Yankee” model, is a different bird entirely.


It has greater range, speed and lift than the old UN-1N — with less vibration. It carries 2,700 pounds of fuel, nearly double the capacity of the “November” model, and its integrated avionics, navigation and communications system give the aircrew access to much more data and mission planning while in flight.


As they settled into the cockpit ahead of a recent flight from Camp Pendleton’s air station, Maj. Christopher Chown and Capt. Rodney Dean spun up the UH-1Y’s pair of T100 engines and scanned the monitors as they ran through a series of preflight checklists.


The blades smoothly lifted the helicopter’s skid off the concrete deck. There was no deep vibration, a noticeable change from the twin-blade UH-1N. It’s at this point, hovering just a few feet above the ground, when the crew members say they really feel the lift generated by the four blades’ larger surface.


“You have so much more power,” explained Sgt. Zach Lucas, 23, a crew chief from St. Louis. “Everything happens a little faster. You feel it right away.”


The extra blades give the Yankee a distinctive sound, a deep thrill rather than the hard “whoop-whoop” of the November. The rotor head yields another important upgrade: flexible articulated composite yokes that allow each blade to bend and flex, a feature that provides for smoother turns.


The Corps is sending three UH-1Ys and a trained detachment overseas with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which leaves San Diego in early January aboard the amphibious assault ship Boxer for a scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific and Persian Gulf regions. It will mark the first operational and at-sea deployment of the Yankee Hueys, which have foldable blades but no automatic folding system.


The deployment will provide the Corps with plenty of input about the new Huey’s ability to operate on the ship’s windy flight deck.


“You can’t get accurate data from simulators,” said Maj. William M. Sloan, an instructor pilot with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron 303. “The ship’s environment is such a dynamic environment because of wind. It’s unpredictable from spot to spot.”


The Corps plans to buy 123 Yankee Hueys by 2015, along with 150 AH-1Z Super Cobra attack helicopters, which will replace the AH-1W models currently flown. Both Bell-built aircraft will share about 85 percent of the same parts, including the four-blade rotor system and crashworthy seats, which will reduce the logistical and supply load on squadrons.


One of the new “Zulu” Cobras sprung to the air and joined Dean and Chown’s Huey for a demonstration of aerial attack and assault over Pendleton’s scrubby hills and oak-dotted canyons. When it goes operational, the Zulu Cobra will carry more firepower — as many as 16 Hellfire missiles, for example — and fly at faster, more maneuverable speeds.


In the Cobra’s rear pilot seat was Capt. Scott M. McGuire, an AH-1 instructor pilot. Like the new Huey, the Zulu Super Cobra “is a significant improvement in handling characteristics,” he said. “… You could fly it single-handedly.”


He called the new Cobra “a smoother” helicopter.


“The aircraft,” McGuire said, “wants to fly fast.”

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Doing more with less for the past 233 years. Think of the return on investment.


"We, the willing, led by the unknown, to do the impossible, for the ungrateful, have been doing so much, for so long, with so little, that we are now qualified to do anything at all, with nothing! (... Don't tell management ...)"



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  • 3 weeks later...

From Aviation Week


USMC Helos Breach Cost Overrun Law

Jan 23, 2009

Bettina H. Chavanne


The U.S. Marine Corps' AH-1Z and UH-1Y have run afoul of the Nunn-McCurdy law again.


Military sources tell Aviation Week that for the past couple of days, program manager Col. Harry Hewson has begun the notification process by briefing congressional staffers on the cost overruns.


Unlike in 2002, however, this Nunn-McCurdy breach apparently has little to do with program issues, sources say. The original requirement for 100 UH-1Ys has grown to 123 and the request for 180 AH-1Zs has risen to 226 as part of the Marine Corps growth plan, which will see 27,000 new Marines enrolled in the end.


More helicopters cost more money, the sources note, surpassing what was previously in the budget for the Cobra and Huey upgrades. "It's not mismanagement of funds and it's not requirements creep," a defense official said. "It's a paperwork drill."


Passed in 1982, Nunn-McCurdy requires a report to Congress when a major acquisition program overruns its projected unit cost at certain trigger points. The law was amended in 2006 to broaden its reach and deal with rebaselining, where a program is restructured and reset to a new baseline, after some lawmakers complained of wider use of rebaselining as acquisition problems mushroomed across the Defense Department. Significant cost growth put the program in violation of Nunn-McCurdy earlier this decade.

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The U.S. Marine Corps' AH-1Z and UH-1Y have run afoul of the Nunn-McCurdy law again.


Always with the negative waves Leyte. :D Let me guess the Nunn-McCurdy Law only applies to USMC acquisitions? :lol:

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Hey, I just report the news


Perhaps you touched a nerve :o with so many naval and aviation projects late and well over budget, and never recall having heard of Nunn-McCurdy I could not resist. ;)

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Perhaps you touched a nerve :o with so many naval and aviation projects late and well over budget, and never recall having heard of Nunn-McCurdy I could not resist. ;)


If it makes you feel any better (probably not), its not specific to the USMC. In fact, for example, JSF is in breach of Nunn-McCurdy as well.


For background, here's the Wikipedia blurb:


"The Nunn–McCurdy Amendment or Nunn–McCurdy Provision, introduced in the United States 1982 Defense Authorization Act and made permanent in 1983, is designed to curtail cost growth in American weapons procurement programs. It requires cost growth of more than 15% to be notified to the United States Congress, and calls for the termination of programs whose total cost grew by more than 25% over the original estimate, unless the Secretary of Defense submits a detailed explanation certifying that the program is essential to the national security, that no suitable alternative of lesser cost is available, that new estimates of total program costs are reasonable, and that the management structure is (or has been made) adequate to control costs. Very rarely is a program actually cancelled under this provision—Congress normally regards the explanations from the Secretary of Defense as acceptable—but it has led to many changes to project management."

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If it makes you feel any better (probably not), its not specific to the USMC.


I did know that. I was just stirring the pot being the parochial (READ: USMC) person that I am here. :lol:


Thanks for the wiki. Two interesting points, 22 years of service in the intervening time since Nunn-McCurdy was passed and still can claim ignorance on it; the second being I like the SecDef loop hole.

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