WASHINGTON — As the US Air Force gears up to modernize its legacy UH-1N Huey helicopter fleet, the service is planning an industry day later this month to explore the path ahead for the 40-year-old platform.
The upcoming sessions are meant to educate potential vendors about improvements the Air Force is looking to make to the existing fleet to reduce long-running capability gaps. Unlike modern aircraft, the Huey is analog, which means it lacks the digital displays most current platforms take for granted. The Huey has also been criticized for its lack of modern technology, such as navigational tools needed for flight during adverse weather conditions.
When I rail at the insanity that rules the DoD acquisition process, it’s because of news like this.
You, me, the guy down at the bar, and everyone with a lick of common sense could address this in 30 seconds. Just tack on a multi-year buy of current production UH-60M Blackhawks.
Instead, the Air Force is forced to spend a year sifting through the ashes of a previous study, and then stand up a program office next year, not to buy the aircraft, but to come up with an acquisition strategy. That will take at least a year.
But no, the DoD acquisition process is designed to be fair and thrifty. So we’ll instead waste time and money (and indeed, in procurement, time IS money) and manpower studying a problem that an Airman 1c could answer in less than a minute.