US Air Force Plans Industry Day for Huey Replacement

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.

via US Air Force Plans Industry Day for Huey Replacement.

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.

17 thoughts on “US Air Force Plans Industry Day for Huey Replacement”

  1. Reminds me of my short time working for the State of CA. We needed a new computer, an HP 3000 (this was awhile back) and their acquisition process required all these lengthy studies.

    So after over a year they approve the purchase of a refurbished HP3000 for $250,000 – but by then the market price for a used unit was 10% – actually less – of their purchase price.

    But they paid their $250,000.

    I guess HP deserved it for jumping though all the hoops and BS for a year or 2.

    1. That would be adequate for missile site security. Might be cheaper than 72s, which would work for site security as well. It would be interesting to know the condition of the airframes, though.

  2. XBrad hit the nail on the head. Just buy UH-60s (which Rescue flies anyway) and save some money by having a common platform for CSAR and missile site security. Those UH-1Ns rolled off the assembly line in 1968 and 1969, for the most part. They were old when I first started flying them in 1994 and I can only imagine what kind of mx issues they’re going to have in the next 4 or 5 years….

  3. In 5 years and 20 billion expect to learn the CH-53K, V-22, and AH-64 are unsuitable for the role.

  4. Jjak, don’t worry the Navy picked the V-22 for their new COD, even though it can’t carry the F-35 engine …

    IMO the only way to reform military acquisition is to fire every single person from the SecD for Acq down. Put them on the street to see if they could even acquire a freaking job, without multiple studies.

    Then bur ALL acquisition regs from DOD 5000 series down.

    Then rebuild the acquisition system from scratch with people that haven’t “always done it this way” You can “reform”; you can send “lightening bolts”; you can BBP 1,000000; all you want but until you change the basic paradigm at EVERY level you will remain with various Acquisition Centers of Incompetence (err Excellence) that can’t acquire a roll of Form 1!

    Why we are at it, the folks who write requirements should a) learn how to write requirements and b) keep their noses out of the process once the CDD is approved.


    1. the only way to reform military acquisition is to fire every single person from the SecD for Acq down. Put them on the street to see if they could even acquire a freaking job, without multiple studies.

      Oh, they’d all get jobs… in the defense industry… in “government relations” (i.e., trying to influence requirements).

    2. I don’t think so. The reason they’re so valuable to the defense industry is because they understand the system and have connections inside the Pentagon. If the system is being rewritten from the ground up and everyone they worked with is in the unemployment line with them, they aren’t nearly as valuable.

      1. Incidentally, Spill found a piece about industry working to solve that problem moving F35 spare engines. They’ve designed a sled that will (just barely) fit the main power module inside a V-22. The rest of the modules fit pretty easily. The final assembly would be done aboard ship.

  5. You are all way over-thinking this. Obviously the USAF prefers old airframes, so transfer a set of USMC -46s over to them. Problem solved. I mean, can kicked down the road… I can see it now with a fleet of a Sea Knights in USAF lizard paint.

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