If you want to keep track of key Pentagon programs, Selected Acquisition Reports are an important resource. Shortly after the defense budget is submitted, the Pentagon releases details on major defense acquisition program cost, schedule, and performance changes on a periodic basis, summarizing the latest estimates of a major program’s cost, schedule, and technical status. Quarterly SARs are submitted for initial reports, final reports, and for programs that are rebaselined at major milestone decisions. Subsequent quarterly exception reports are required only for those programs experiencing unit cost increases of at least 15%, or schedule delays of at least 6 months.
Total program cost estimates provided in the SARs include research and development, procurement, military construction, and acquisition-related operation and maintenance (except for pre-Milestone B programs which are development costs only). Total program costs reflect actual costs to date, as well as future anticipated costs, and include anticipated inflation allowances.
When the USA and the Netherlands deployed their AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters to Afghanistan, the Longbow millimeter-wave radar that sits atop the rotor didn’t accompany them. The Dutch helicopters didn’t have that option due to budget pressures, and the Americans decided that the mast-mounted radar would just compromise performance against an opponent that had no armored vehicles to track, and no weapons that made fire-and-forget missile tactics necessary.
The British thought about it, and decided to take a different tack. Their WAH-64s were equipped with RTM322 Mk250 engines [PDF], giving them commonalities with the EH101 Merlin fleet and 2,260 shp – a 19% boost over the 1,890 shp GE T701Cs that power most other Apaches. With power to spare and additional internal fuel tanks, they kept the radars on and focused on finding ways to use them in theater…